Staten Island ferry fire prompts evacuation of nearly 700 passengers

A Staten Island ferry carrying more than 800 passengers was evacuated Thursday evening following a fire, officials confirmed. 

The fire was reported at 5:18 p.m. local time in the mechanical room of the ferry, according to the FDNY. 

At a press conference Thursday night, FDNY officials confirmed five people suffered minor injuries, and three were transferred to a local hospital. Among the injured was one asthmatic patient, and crew members who suffered minor smoke inhalation, fire officials said. 

The U.S. Coast Guard initially said that there were 688 passengers aboard the vessel, named the Sandy Ground, when the fire broke out. However, in the news conference, FDNY officials said there were 866 passengers aboard the ferry, as well as an additional 16 crew members. 

Officails said the fire started in the engine room and was extinguished by the boat fire suppression system. Officials said the fire should be under control, but “out of an abundance of caution,” crews will wait a minimum of 24 hours before entering the engine room to determine if the fire was fully extinguished. 

The engine room remained warm as of Thursday night, officials said. 

The ferry was anchored as passengers were evacuated onto tugboats to be transported to the St. George Ferry Terminal, FDNY said.

The Coast Guard reported that the fire was extinguished. There was no immediate word on a cause.  

Several social media users posted videos showing crowds of passengers lining up to evacuate with life jackets on.

According to the New York City mayor’s office, the Sandy Ground had just been commissioned into service this past February. It was named after New York’s first free Black community, which was settled in 1828. 

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FILE — New York City Mayor Eric Adams commissions a new Staten Island ferry, Sandy Ground, in February 2022.

CBS New York



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