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Osterville  Wednesday December 10, 2003
Approx 2031 Hours


This is what it looked like when it was reported, before apparatus arrived.

It has been 10 years since the Crosby Yacht Yard Fire
destroyed 4 large boat storage buildings in a historic and
very costly fire in Osterville on December 10, 2003.

The buildings that were ultimately lost

The yacht yard was in my family for many years, since it began,
and even though it was no longer owned by the family, I had a very
personal relationship and history with the boat yard. I grew up
essentially playing in and around these buildings. They were old,
wooden, open, and in December full of boats.

The night of the fire, my wife Robyn was on duty dispatching.
My son and I had stopped by the firehouse to visit earlier
and I really hadn't been home long when the tone went out for
the fire.

I ran outside and at first did not see the fire. When I looked in
the direction of the buildings that were involved, perhaps a
thousand feet away, I suddenly realized just how big a fire it
already was and knowing the buildings that were involved, I
went back into the house and called the station. I recommended
a third alarm be struck to get started.  I then donned my gear
and brought along my camera to document what I knew would
be a very major, historic fire.

First arriving apparatus found the huge wooden shed already fully involved and collapsing.

I was able to snap a few quick photos on the way over to the
fire and then a few more before apparatus arrived. It was clear that
the fire had already taken full control of the big shed, 100' x 300'
and exposures on all sides were in big trouble. Water supply in
the area was very limited. Before long, three other large sheds
were involved.  There was really no stopping a fire of this
magnitude. A few days before, a mini-blizzard had resulted
in a blanket of snow & slush that covered the ground.
That and the light off shore breeze really helped keep
the fire from spreading beyond what it did.

Ultimately, a five alarm assignment had been requested and
apparatus from across the Cape came to Osterville.
The buildings were consumed so quickly that even an
adequate amount of water would not have made a difference.
Crews worked under extreme conditions and did in fact
contain the fire and prevent exposures from involvement.

Several others recoded the fire on film and video from various perspectives.

The night went fast by some standards and by morning, only
charred ruins remained. It turned out to be the largest dollar
loss fire in Massachusetts that year. Hundreds of boats, many
very special and unique were lost. The fire resulted in some
environmental concerns as well as a major economic hit
to the two local boat yards.

In the ten year that have passed, both the Crosby Yacht and
the Oyster Harbors Marine boat yards have rebuilt themselves
with new buildings and life goes on as it should.

December 10, 2003 however, will always be remembered by
firefighters as the night the Crosby Yacht Yard burned and
rightfully so.... It was a historic fire of massive proportions.