Fourth of July boat explosion injures 1 on Lake Granby
A boat explosion on the Fourth of July left one Grand County woman with minor injuries in an incident local law enforcement officials said could have been significantly worse.
A group of three individuals had just finished refueling their 26-foot early 1980s model Sea Ray boat at Highland Marina on the west shore of Lake Granby Wednesday afternoon when they encountered difficulty starting the boat’s engine, according to Lt. Dan Mayer of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. The owners of Highland Marina were towing the Sea Ray away from the marina’s fueling dock as the Sea Ray’s occupants continued their efforts to start the boat’s engine.
While the boat was being towed away, the occupants of the boat managed to get the boat’s engine to turn over, which sparked an explosion within the boat’s inboard engine compartment. The explosion sent the boat’s occupants flying into the air, causing one female passenger to sustain minor injuries. The boat then caught on fire.
As the boat burned, crews from Highland Marina towed the Sea Ray to shallow waters near the shore at the far western edge of the small inlet north of the marina. Firefighters were called to the scene and were able to suppress the boat fire from the side of U.S. Highway 34, which was directly west of the location to which the boat was towed. The highway was temporarily shut down as firefighters worked to put out the floating blaze.
Mayer attributed the fire to a build up of gas fumes within the boat’s inboard engine compartment that ignited when the boat’s occupants started the engine. Mayer said boat fires related to fumes in inboard engine compartments are not uncommon.
The boat was considered a total loss. Mayer said the boat’s hull remained largely in tact though and never sank below the surface of the water. According to Mayer, as soon as the fire was put out, Highland Marina towed the boat to a trailer and removed the burnt shell from the water.
Mayer praised the quick actions of workers at Highland Marina who helped prevent the situation from becoming worse by towing the Sea Ray away from the marina’s fueling dock and for removing the burned boat after the fire was put out.
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