Boat erupts in flames in city harbor

City: Man released from hospital, dock lost in blaze

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 4, 2015


Editor's note: This story updated May 7

A man was hospitalized May 3 after the boat he was trying to start in Lac Ste. Claire Harbor exploded.

St. Clair Shores Police reported that three Roseville residents were launching a 20-foot boat in the city-owned harbor around 7:30 p.m. May 3 when it caught fire.

“The boat was purchased last year, it was used,” St. Clair Shores Fire Chief George Morehouse said, explaining that this was the first time the boat had been put in the water. “It failed to start and, after the third attempt, the engine compartment erupted in flames.”

The 28-year-old driver of the boat was taken to St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit with burns on the left side of his body and both ankles. The 41-year-old boat owner sustained burns but did not seek medical treatment, and a 28-year-old female passenger had no injuries.

Morehouse said the boat had been impounded for further investigation. He said boat owners should always check for gas fumes, even after the blower has been running, before starting the engine.

City Manager Mike Smith said at the May 4 City Council meeting that the man had been released from the hospital the evening of May 3. The city, he said, lost one of its launch docks in the blaze, and the boat ramp was expected to be closed until May 8.

He said they hoped to have the dock repaired in time for use during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, or before.