PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland fire investigators are trying to determine what caused an explosion that sparked a fire on a pleasure boat earlier Friday.
The explosion erupted on a 20-foot boat shortly before noon. The owner, who has not been identified, was able to escape with only minor burns. Fire officials say the man had just opened the boat's engine compartment -- when it exploded.Witnesses say the man jumped into Casco Bay to escape the roaring flames.
When firefighters arrived the motor boat was completely engulfed in flames. Fire officials say minutes before, the boat's owner had removed the engine cover of the boat and was looking into the engine compartment when it erupted. Witnesses say the man jumped into the water to escape the fire, but was able to climb up and walk away from the dock.
He had wet towels wrapped around his head and was able to talk to fire investigators before he was transported to Maine Medical Center. People who saw what happened say it's hard to believe the owner escaped with his life.
'I heard the boom and it literally shook everything and I look down and there is black, flames, smoke everywhere and I see the guy jump in the water, and then his wife started screaming are you alright and he started screaming I'm alright,' said Bob Tuttle, who saw what happened.
Fire officials say the explosion may be the result of gasoline fumes that were ignited by something, possibly equipment that was already running on the boat.
The man suffered injuries to his face, arms, hands and legs, but the severity of those burns is not known.