On Saturday afternoon, the owner of a 24-foot 1978 Sea Ray with an inboard gas engine refueled at the Hinckley Yachts dock in Stamford, Connecticut. As soon as he turned on his engine, the boat burst into flames. The boat was cast off the dock, but destroyed four boats and Capt. John’s Tiki hut in the process, causing over $500,000 worth of damage.
While the exact cause of the fire is unknown, according to Fire Chief Trevor Roach, the culprit is most likely the gasoline-powered inboard. These gas engines were responsible for so many fires in the past that many designers began using diesel inboards.
Though the boat’s captain claims to have used his blower before starting the engine, Chief Fire Marshal Walter Seely believes there were gasoline vapors lingering in the bilge and that a spark from the starter, distributor, sparkplug, or possibly a backfire through the carburetor must have set them off.
A northwest wind blew the boat to the east side of the harbor, where it sunk. The captain and his passenger had managed to evacuate before the boat was cast off from the dock, and nobody was injured. The boat is leaking gasoline, and the Coast Guard is working out a plan to safely remove it from the harbor.
You can read more in this story from the Stamford Advocate.