Boat Fire in Thunder Alley - 02/13/2008
Three boats suffer damage and an owner is burned.

A South Florida man is lucky to be alive after the engines of his boat exploded in flames Sunday morning. Miami Dade Fire Rescue said two of their fire engines reached the burning boat at the High Lift Marina on Northeast 187th Avenue in Aventura within minutes.

Firefighters immediately attacked the flames erupting from the burning 28-foot boat as paramedics treated the vessel's owner who suffered burns. He said the rear of his boat exploded after he tried to start the engines. Two boats which were docked on either side of the burning boat also suffered considerable damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but this kind of explosion is almost always caused when the ignition is turned on, which causes a spark somewhere in gas fumes.

What to do before you start your engine.

  • During fueling make sure any spills are wiped up. Dispose of rags off of boat. Don’t allow anyone to sit on the engine hatch when starting engine.

  • Make sure all electrical connections are solid, that the ignition switch is spark free.

  • Before even turning the key, sniff around, open the engine hatch, look around the gas tank and note if there are any fumes or evidence of gas.

  • If you sniff fumes, or see gas pooled anywhere don’t turn anything on, not even a radio.

  • Leave your hatch open, remove the fuel if any and wipe down with detergent and fresh water. Remove any rags from boat. Determine the source of the fumes or leak.

  • After sniffing and looking, turn on your blower to remove any residual fumes from the engine area.
  • After starting the engine, observe if there are any fumes or gas pooled anywhere in the engine compartment after engine has been run a few minutes. If so shut down immediately and examine the problem.