A spectacular fire, blamed on fireworks, destroyed 14 boats and damaged four others in a North Lake Union boatyard shortly before the Fourth of July fireworks show began a short distance away at Gas Works Park.
The blaze, which started just after 10 p.m. Thursday, sent up huge columns of smoke and flame. Fire officials estimated the damage at $1.5 million.
A firefighter suffered a minor injury to a knee, but there were no other reports of injuries.
Kevin Gawthorp, 24, who lives nearby, had been walking to the park to see the fireworks and saw many people shooting fireworks in the area before the boats caught fire.
“The fire just went straight up, there was a lot of smoke,” he said. “So much you couldn’t see the fireworks.”
Firefighting efforts in the area contributed to a major traffic jam after the fireworks display, as some roads leading away from Gas Works Park were blocked by fire equipment.
Earlier in the evening, fire officials said fireworks were to blame for a roof fire that caused $40,000 damage to a home in the 5500 block of Coniston Road Northeast near Lake Washington. The occupants of that home got out safely.