On March 30, 2012 an immense marina fire in Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham took two lives and destroyed an estimated 10 vessels and a boathouse. The victims, a married couple, died from smoke inhalation aboard their 42-foot powerboat when the fire trapped them inside. The vessel sank during the blaze and their bodies were not recovered until April 6 due to high winds and sunken debris hindering the recovery effort.
The fire was reported at 5:30 a.m. on March 30 and officials received a portion of a call from the couple before their deaths. By the time fire crews arrived flames had spread to several boats and eventually the roof of the marina collapsed. Fuel tank explosions could be heard as thick, black plumes of smoke rose from the marina and drifted into Bellingham. The 10 vessels lost in the fire were primarily high end fiberglass pleasure boats approximately 40 feet in length. Officials say that the blaze was difficult to fight due to the lack of a fire boat. Until last year, Bellingham had a fire boat but the city decommissioned it due to a determination that its cost was not justified.