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Boat Caught Fire On Ohio River

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A boat caught on fire Saturday afternoon on the Ohio River.

Around noon Saturday, a mechanical problem caused a boat to catch fire on the Ohio River near the West End Bridge. River Rescue and Pittsburgh Fire were on the scene.

According to Barry Warble, District Chief of Pittsburgh EMS, the occupant was moving his boat to take it to get some repairs when he saw smoke in the engine compartment and the boat caught fire. He was not able to extinguish it, so he put on a life vest and swam to the docks on shore.

(Photo Credit: KDKA/Timothy Lawson)

The occupant was treated by paramedics. He sustained some "inhalation injuries from trying to deal with [the fire] before it got out of hand," according to Warble. He was on oxygen for a period of time before being taken to the hospital for further assessment.

According to Battalion Chief Doug Praskovich, the boat was too far out on the river for fire trucks to reach with their hoses, and without a fire boat, "we're kind of limited in what we can do to the fire itself." According to Emily Schaffer, the assistant public information officer for the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety, the city has not had a fire boat since the '70s.

The boat has since burned out.

"He's very lucky, very fortunate," Praskovich said. "We're lucky that that boat didn't come in shore and start catching some of these other boats on fire."

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