A blaze destroyed and sank four motor boats at Barton Marina in Staffordshire at the weekend

Fire destroyed and sank four motor boats at Barton Marina in Staffordshire at the weekend (scroll down for video).

Three people and a dog were rescued by firemen and members of the public as the fire tore through the boats, all moored at a jetty in the middle of the marina, on Friday afternoon.

A specialist dive team was put on standby to search the fast-sinking wrecks for a boat owner reported missing, but he was found safe and well by police.

Flames engulf the four boats Pic: Geoff Girvan-Merryweather/Burton Mail

Flames engulf the four boats Pic: Geoff Girvan-Merryweather/Burton Mail

The marina on the Trent & Mersey Canal – advertised as ‘the jewel of the Midlands’ – was ‘heavily congested with boat owners mothballing their boats for the winter period’ according to Ian Housley of Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service.

He said that the fire started on a barge and quickly spread to four other boats. A fire brigade spokesman later said that an electrical fault on the barge was believed to be to blame.

Flames engulf the four boats Pic: Geoff Girvan-Merryweather/Burton Mail

A gas cylinder can be seen on one of the boats Pic: Geoff Girvan-Merryweather/Burton Mail

A number of people had been trapped by smoke and were disorientated. The emergency services treated them at the scene for smoke inhalation but no one was seriously injured.

“There were four boats involved in the fire and they have all sunk and are on the bottom of the marina which makes it difficult to investigate as they are underwater,” said Mr Housley.

“We are pleased with the outcome because no-one has been injured and it has not spread to the several hundred boats in the marina, with their possessions and memorabilia, which would have had a knock-on effect on the community and would have had a huge effect on local businesses.”

One boat owner who saw his £10,000 ‘second home’ go up in flames was 23-year-old Sam McQuaid, who only bought his boat five months ago.

Mr McQuaid told the Burton Mail that though he was heartbroken to lose his boat, he was ‘overjoyed’ that his five-year-old Labrador, Vince, survived the blaze.

The Fire and Rescue Service urge all boat owners to have smoke alarms fitted and tested and to regularly discuss fire safety on their boats.

Video: Geoff Girvan-Merryweather/Burton Mail