Conn. marina re-opens despite fire damage

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Yankee Boatyard and Marina is already rebuilding after the July blaze that cost ‘millions’

Yankee Boatyard and Marina is already rebuilding after the July blaze that cost ‘millions’

From a portable trailer set up on the grounds of the Yankee Boatyard and Marina in Portland, Conn., yard owners say they’re open for business and looking forward to rebuilding the portion of their property that was destroyed by a fire in July.

“We welcome the challenge; we’re excited about it,” says co-owner Ron Bourbeau. “When we’re done, this facility is going to be newer and better.”

According to Bourbeau, about 10,000 square feet of property was either severely damaged or destroyed. Although the plans aren’t definite, he expects to build a total of 15,000 square feet of new buildings he hopes will be completed by next spring. Work has already begun on a 4,000-square-foot structure that will act as a partial store and office space, Bourbeau says.

“Other than the inconvenience, we don’t expect to experience any financial losses or significant changes in the services we offer,” Bourbeau says.

On July 6 a fire broke out on the 7.7-acre property, which is also home to Northeast Yacht Sales. Although five buildings were destroyed — including the yard office, ships store and service facilities — firefighters were able to keep the flames away from a 500-gallon propane tank, four 100-gallon propane tanks and containers of acetylene gas (used for welding).

According to a news report, investigators determined the fire was accidental, and caused by a welder installing a garage door on one of the buildings. Bourbeau estimates the damages to be in the millions.

Yankee Boatyard and Marina, located along the Connecticut River, offers yard services including hauling and launching; painting and fiberglass; mechanical servicing of gas and diesel inboards, generators, transmissions and outdrives; carpentry including flooring, decks and millwork; and detailing. Despite major fiberglass repair work and large paint projects, it’s business as usual at the yard, Bourbeau says.

“We have 15-, 20-year relationships with a lot of these people,” Bourbeau says of his customers and local residents. “We appreciate that everyone has been so supportive and understanding of the situation.”