Fire damages Condor Express

Condor captain says moderate damage and repairs should take between 30 to 60 days.

Sherri Paysinger, NewsChannel 3 Reporter,
POSTED: 01:51 PM PDT Mar 11, 2013    UPDATED: 02:07 PM PDT Mar 11, 2013 

A fire tore through the Condor Express causing moderate damage. The Condor captain says the fire apparently broke out and was contained to the wheelhouse of the vessel or the upper level.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon at the Sea Landing in the Santa Barbara Harbor.

The boat had returned from a whale-watching trip about an hour before the fire started.

An off-duty firefighter from San Francisco was passing by and saw smoke. He pulled a fire hose from the dock and began the initial attack on the flames.  Harbor Patrol and the Santa Barbara City Fire Department arrived on scene minutes later. The fire was knocked down in about 10 minutes.

Authorities say no one was on board and no one was hurt.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire.  The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical.

The Condor Express offers whale watching trips in Santa Barbara.

Fred Benko, the longtime captain of the Condor Express, died last week at the age of 73.

Condor Express on Fire

POSTED: 08:32 PM PST Mar 09, 2013 
Photos by KEYT NewsChannel 3 Video Journalist Oscar Flores

Fire aboard the Condor Express boat. First photo courtesy of Captain Spencer Macrae.

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Santa Barbara Harbor