Mystery of midnight canal boat blaze

A blazing boat mystery on the canal near  the Tesco supermarket, Whaley Bridge, is being investigated by Derbyshire police and  the fire service.

The narrowboat -named Inca Hombre – was spotted in flames just before midnight on Saturday20 November.  Fire fighters were dealing with the fire which gutted the boat until after midnight.  Days later, the smell of smoke was still present in this quiet, tree covered spot just below the main road, not far from the Bugsworth canal junction.


A police statement said:  “The incident happened at around 11.40pm on Saturday, 20 November to a boat which was moored on Peak Forest Canal, near to Whaley Bridge Marina.

“A joint investigation is currently underway alongside Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the fire.

“Officers are also looking into reports of a man who was seen acting suspiciously in the area around the time of the fire. He is described as tall, with long hair and was wearing a light coloured top.

“Anyone with information, or witnesses, should call Derbyshire police on 0345 123 33 33  or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting crime number: 64244/10.”

There has been a flood of messages on the Forum discussion site of  this  website.  Most  expressed shock that something like this could happen on a quiet stretch of the canal, not far from boats that were occupied.  Others were afraid that such a crime may put off canal users from visiting or mooring at Whaley Bridge in  the future. 

One correspondent to the discussion site had been on the towpath at 11.5pm on the night of the fire, and reported ‘suspicious circumstances’ to the police.  The former owner of the boat has thanked Whaley Bridge people for their kindness.  The boat was ‘a big part of my life for many years.’