One person was taken to hospital following an explosion and subsequent fire at a Salmon Arm marina on Shuswap Lake.
The Salmon Arm Fire Department received a report of a fire at Captain’s Cove Marina, located at 2053 73 Ave NE, west of Canoe Beach, just before 1 p.m. on Monday, July 27.
Crews and apparatus from three of the city’s firehalls were dispatched and, upon arrival, firefighters found five boats ablaze as well as a portion of the marina’ dock system.
Fire Chief Brad Shirley said preliminary investigation determined that a boat had just been refuelled before its engine was started, leading to an explosion.
“Which is pretty consistent with a gasoline vapour explosion,” said Shirley late Monday afternoon, adding investigators had yet to confirm the cause.
The fire chief said quick thinking staff at the marina were able to push the boat away from the dock while shutting off the fuel source to the gas pumps.
“Unfortunately, the boat on fire drifted into four others, igniting them on fire as well as the surrounding dock where the boats were moored,” said Shirley, adding five boats were totally destroyed while another sustained minor damage.
The boat’s occupant sustained injuries believed to have been non-life threatening in the explosion, and was transported to hospital by BC Ambulance.
“We did place some booms in the water just to prevent any escape of fuel out into the lake and, of course, with a fire like this on the water, the Ministry of Environment, Interior Health and… the city have all been notified,” said Shirley.
Firefighters were on the scene for about two hours. Shirley said they were able to knock out the burning boats from land.
“It was a fairly spectacular looking blaze – with all the material contained in one boat, get five of them together, it’s pretty toxic, significant black smoke,” said Shirley, referring to the plume that could be seen over the lake.
—Salmon Arm Observer