Sturgeon Bay firefighters were pressed into action Thursday morning to put out a fire that started inside an under-construction barge in the large graving dock at Bay Shipbuilding.
Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Herlache says the fire wasn't big -- it was wood planking and staging that caught fire -- but it was down about three levels and difficult to get to because of baffles in the barge's tank and small-diameter hatches the firefighters had to crawl through.
Three firefighters were injured.
The chief says two firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion. A third sustained a head laceration. All were treated on scene by county paramedics.
Herlache says the fire likely was caused by sparks from a burning torch or welding arc.
"Bay Ship does a terrific job of safety and fire watches but when you're in those types of spaces it's just really impossible to just keep track of every little spark," says Herlache. "Because it's not like you're looking across the room, you're looking across a very tiny space and crawling through it and it's just a tough situation."
A total of 21 firefighters responded. Herlache says they used about 100 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.