COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - It's that time of year when people are taking their boats out on the water to soak in the summer. With that comes responsibility.
Recently, deputies in Oakland County responded to a boat explosion on Union Lake in Commerce Township.
"They did everything they could to try and deploy and get the fire out first and then to prevent the boat from sinking or causing a navigation hazard. Thankfully everyone was already out of the boat at that point," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
Bouchard says his deputies were able to use flotation devices to pull the boat ashore.
As to how the flames erupted…
"Preliminary, it looks like it was due to not having the blower motor properly utilized. Imagine if you were pouring gas on a fire you want to start on a campfire, which is not a great idea. And you throw that match on there, and it goes woosh … same thing happens inside a contained space if it's holding gas fumes and you flip the ignition, that's a source of fire, and it just ignites those fumes," Bouchard said.
A potentially deadly situation that can be avoided, he says.
"Have the right safety equipment in your boat, extinguishers, personal flotation devices, have your safety equipment checked, your blower motors, know the procedures, and then don't mix alcohol with driving," said Bouchard.
In Michigan, Oakland County has the most lakes than any other county in the state, which means more emergencies on the water, according to the Sheriff.
"Safety first. We tragically have a number of deaths on Oakland County lakes every summer. It's an amazing place to have fun, but it's also a place that could be a tragic memory if you don't follow some basic safety protocols," Bouchard stated.
Bouchard says, fortunately no one was hurt, and the situation could have been much worse.
Moving forward, he hopes boat owners remember the simple steps mentioned above to avoid serious situations like this in the future.
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