- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 12, 2015

About 90 firefighters battled to extinguish a “very stubborn fire” Saturday at the historic Annapolis Yacht Club, a three-alarm blaze that closed nearby streets for hours and caused a holiday “Parade of Lights” to be cancelled, Annapolis police said.

The Annapolis Fire Department tweeted Saturday night that the fire at the club, located at 2 Compromise St., was out; crews would be working through the night on the overhaul; and investigators were on the scene to determine what happened.

Earlier in the evening, police tweeted: “#Annapolis fire Dept is operating at the Annapolis yacht club on 3rd alarm fire. Please avoid the area.”

“Streets Closed Downtown Due to Fire — Streets are closed due to fire at Annapolis Yacht Club. Compromise St, Sixth St, Duke of Gloucester St, and Eastport Bridge all closed. Traffic is heavy and expect back ups in the surrounding downtown and Eastport areas. We will update when the situation changes,” police also posted on Facebook.

There were 34 pieces of equipment and 90 firefighters who responded to the fire, police said. There were no civilian injuries, but there was one minor injury to a firefighter, who has been transported to Anne Arundel Medical Center.

The fire was called in by a fire alarm-monitoring company at 2:16 p.m. Saturday, and multiple calls also came to 911 about smoke coming from the windows, police said. When firefighters arrived, they called for a second and then a third alarm.

Police said the Eastport Yacht Club’s annual “Parade of Lights,” a holiday tradition where boats are decorated with Christmas lights, was also cancelled Saturday because of the fire.

It’s unclear if the “Parade of Lights” will be rescheduled.

The Eastport Yacht Club said on its site: “The EYC Lights Parade has been canceled by the Mayor and City of Annapolis while firefighters continue to deal with the catastrophic fire at Annapolis Yacht Club. EYC supports the cancelation [sic] due to concerns about safety of the participants on the boats and spectators in the local area.”

Some boats were already decorated for the parade.

“Participating boats can either tie up at EYC, Severn Sailing Association, or their originally assigned docks and make their way to the yacht club for informal judging,” the site said.

Meanwhile, firefighters continued to tackle the blaze.

The fire was put out around 6:40 p.m., and the Circulator bus began to pick up passengers from Annapolis to take them to Eastport, the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management said on social media.

“We thank the Annapolis Police and area Fire departments for their quick action and our senior management for quickly evacuating the facility,” Commodore Rod Jabin, a member of the AYC Board of Directors, said in a statement, the Annapolis Patch site reported.

“We are saddened by the events of today but thankful that no one was seriously injured. The yacht club was closed to its members while preparing for the Lights Parade and all of the staff got out safely. Club officers and management will be assessing the situation tomorrow to determine the extent of the damage and move the process forward to rebuilding,” he said.

The Annapolis Yacht Club began its history in 1886 as an informal canoe club, according to the club’s website.

“A building was constructed two years later on a pile of oyster shells at the foot of Duke of Gloucester Street, which, in 1888, became the Clubhouse for the formally organized Severn Boat Club. This oyster pile was rented from St. Mary’s Church and was next to a rickety wooden bridge across Spa Creek. In 1897 a new clubhouse was built and was enlarged in 1912,” the site explained.

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