Stratford mariner killed in boat fire

NORWALK - Police say a Stratford mariner was killed Saturday morning after his boat went up in flames just after midnight.

Friends identified the victim as Don Czaplinski, who owned the boat. Firefighters say they discovered the body on board the boat in the Broadway Marina as they tried to extinguish the flames. According to fire officials, they were unable to retrieve the body before the boat sank. Firefighters say putting out the flames on the boat was difficult due to the combustibles on board, like fuel, and the fact that the boat could sink at any moment.

The Coast Guard and Department of Environmental Protection workers spent Saturday combing through the remains.

"Don was a happy-go-lucky guy," a friend says. "He was a great guy and a lot of fun."

Czaplinski ran a local deli in town and was well known in the community for his generosity.

Police and fire officials say they are still investigating the cause of the fire. They say the investigation process will begin next week after the boat is recovered and moved to a dry dock.

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