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Passengers evacuated after Staten Island Ferry engine fire

NEW YORK (AP) – Emergency personnel evacuated nearly 900 passengers from a Staten Island Ferry vessel on Thursday evening following a fire in the ship’s engine room.

The New York City Fire Department said units responded to a report of a fire in the mechanical room of a ship in upper New York Bay shortly after pm, WNBC-TV reported.

Five people were reported injured, three of them requiring hospital treatment, WNBC-TV said.

Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Frank Leeb said during a news conference there were approximately 868 people on the vessel, the Sandy Ground, with an additional 16 crew members.

The United States Coast Guard evacuated the passengers, including several wearing life jackets, to the St George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. The ferry’s crew members were also taken off the boat. The evacuation took less than an hour, WNBC-TV reported.

The department will wait a minimum of 24 hours and monitor temperatures before entering the engine room to determine whether the fire is completely extinguished, Leeb said. He credited the ship’s crew with fast action to notify the Coast Guard. “They were also very quick to make sure that they sealed the engine room, evacuated the area and followed the protocol to put the carbon dioxide into that” to remove the room’s oxygen, Leeb said.

People board the Staten Island Ferry at the Whitehall Terminal. PHOTO: AP