A lot of smoke can be seen from a boat fire on the Crofton waterfront Thursday evening. (Facebook photo)

A lot of smoke can be seen from a boat fire on the Crofton waterfront Thursday evening. (Facebook photo)

Many hours of work on boat goes up in flames and smoke

Firefighters douse fire on the Crofton waterfront to prevent spread to nearby vessels

Countless hours of work by Gary (The Duck) Drake literally went up in smoke and flames on the Crofton waterfront last Thursday night.

Drake, known for his many years as an employee at the Crofton Paper Excellence Catalyst pulp mill and getting ready for retirement in about a month, saw a boat he’d been working on completely destroyed. It’s not known what caused the fire, but some sort of electrical problem is the suspected source.

Crofton and Chemainus Fire Departments responded to the call. “Quick response limited damage to other nearby vessels,” noted Martin Drakeley, manager of fire and bylaw services for the Municipality of North Cowichan. “Fire was extinguished rapidly and handed over to the Wharfinger.”

Wes Bissett of Chemainus, a longtime friend and co-worker of Drake’s, has started a GoFundMe page for him and hopes it will raise $5,000. “I’ve known Gary the whole time I’ve been at the mill,” Bissett said.

“He bought the boat and was living on the boat for a while. His grand plan was he was going to sell the boat and use the money to fund his retirement road trip and to pick up another boat from Alberta on his way home. That kind of went up in flames for him.”

Drake had been utilizing Bissett’s place to work on the boat and store it before putting it in the water. It had been there less than 24 hours when the fire happened.

“I feel bad for the guy, the last three months and the legwork he put in,” remarked Bissett.

The fire caused about a half hour delay to the Crofton-Vesuvius (Salt Spring Island) ferry sailings the rest of the day.

“To add some salt to that wound, the boat reached its age where agencies would no longer issue insurance so it falls entirely in his lap,” noted Bissett.

The GoFundMe page is listed under Duck’s Luck: That Ship Has Sailed.

“We started this page in hopes of taking away at least some of the sting this absolute catastrophe has caused, so we’re hoping anyone/everyone can donate whatever they can to help make his well-earned transition into retirement at least a little less stressful than it has become,” added Bissett.

Boating

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Charred shell is all that remains of Gary Drake’s boat. (Facebook photo)

Charred shell is all that remains of Gary Drake’s boat. (Facebook photo)

Just Posted

John and Jeri Wyatt hope the upcoming North Cowichan public hearing will move things along toward exclusion of the Chemainus River Campground from the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Opportunity for input on campground ALR exclusion at public hearing

Matter back on the agenda after a late reprieve in 2019 for Chemainus River Campground owners

Rainforest Arts in downtown Chemainus is closing temporarily. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Rising COVID cases cited in temporary Rainforest Arts closure

Contact can still be made through email and social media

The Red Zed 1 aroused a great deal of curiosity when it was stationed off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Alaskan fast ferries the eventual load for heavy hauler

The Red Zed 1 stayed anchored in Chemainus for the better part of a month and a half

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Most Read