RED BANK: BURNED BOAT CLEARED FROM RIVER

rb burned boat 051514The burned hull of the Fiddler at low tide last Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The icebound boat that went up in flames in the Navesink River in February has been removed from the waterway off Red Bank’s Maple Cove.

Is an arson charge next?

Owner Sam Haigh tells redbankgreen that what remained of the 30-foot Maine Lobster boat, dubbed the Fiddler, was “yanked out” Sunday night, three weeks after its diesel motors were removed.

The charred hull was taken to Chris’s Marina in the River Plaza section of Middletown and will be discarded, said Haigh, a Red Bank resident who owned the vessel for 15 years.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see that,” Haigh said.

The boat, surrounded by thick ice, went up in flames in the predawn hours of February 12. Afterward, there were reports of at least one fire having been set on the vessel in the weeks before it was destroyed.

Haigh said the State Police Marine unit indicated to him that they were close to make an arrest on an arson charge.

And at a borough council meeting last week, borough Council President Art Murphy corrected Councilwoman Cindy Burnham when she said the police investigation in the matter was over.

“It’s still under investigation,” said Murphy, who serves as police commissioner. “The case isn’t closed.”

A State Police spokeswoman told redbankgreen on Tuesday she had no immediate updates on the matter.