Boat sinks Saturday after fire

Published 10:04 am Monday, August 2, 2010

A family of four are safe after their newly acquired boat caught fire Saturday shortly after they put it in the water.

Department of Natural Resources Ranger Tony Cox said Daryl L. Griffin of Bainbridge and his family had just launched their 22-foot inboard boat from the Earle May Boat Basin Saturday afternoon when there was an explosion.

Cox said his best guess was that the blower of the early 1970s boat wasn’t working properly or wasn’t on, and gas vapors in the engine compartment exploded.

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The boat was quickly engulfed in flames as it drifted downstream toward the area of the city’s campgrounds, but remained out of reach of city firefighters and police officers who responded.

Fellow boaters were able to rescue the family of four, but were unable to locate the family’s dog, Cox said. There was little other boaters or firefighters could do to save the boat as it was quickly consumed in flames.

Cox said the family had just acquired the boat, and a 15-year-old boy was celebrating his birthday, which was on Friday, with the planned outing.

The burned out bow of the boat was protruding out of the water, which was the only visible signs of the boat Saturday afternoon. The wreckage was located upstream from the Bainbridge Marina and near the city’s campgrounds about 10 to 20 yards from the right-hand bank going upstream.

Cox said it will be Griffin’s responsibility to remove the boat from the Flint River. There were no citations issued in the accident, Cox said.