Fire aboard boat not serious
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY ó Four people escaped with minor injuries following a Wednesday night accident near Tamarac Marina.
A woman received minor burns,officials said.
Andrea Craig received burns akin to a light to mild sunburn to her back and the back of her legs. Her hair was also singed, said Senior Officer Bill Tarplee with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The owner and operator of the boat, Kevin Morgan, received non-serious burns to his left arm. His hair was also singed. He declined to be taken to a hospital but received treatment at the scene.
Another passenger, Keith Good, who was standing in the front of the boat, also had singed hair on his face, arms and legs.
An infant girl was also on the boat and received light burns, similar to that of a sunburn, but appeared fine later at the scene, Tarplee said.
He believed the child was younger than 2 years old.
The four had been on the water all day when they stopped to refuel. They were not far downstream from the shore when there was a problem with the boat.
ěIt wasnít running right,î Tarplee said.
The passengers attempted to investigate, but it was just before 10 p.m. and dark, and they did not have a flashlight.
Morgan used a lighter and lifted a hatch to get a closer look at the back of the boat.
ěThe lighter ignited fuel vapors,î Tarplee said.
Everyone on board jumped into the water.
When someone filled the fuel tank with gas, the hose that is typically attached to vent the tank was not attached, and the air escaped into the bottom of the boat behind a compartment.
ěWhen he (Morgan) opened the compartment door to look inside there was nothing but gas fumes,î Tarplee said.
Just the vapors ignited, Tarplee said.
Morgan tried to put the fire out using water scooped from the lake with a cooler.
ěWhen I saw the boat, it was on shore, on the trailer, full of water. There was no damage to the boat,î Tarplee said.
The boat belonged to Morganís grandfather and had been worked on for quite some time to get it ready to take on the water. It had already been on the water on a previous occasion.
Tarplee said he believes all of the people on the boat were from Kannapolis.
Liberty Volunteer Fire Department responded, as did Rowan EMS and law enforcement.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.