According to St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon, deputies from the Marine Division were dispatched to a boat fire shortly before 5:30.
When the patrol boat arrived, they saw Ira Township and Clay Township fire boats near the 28 foot cabin cruiser, which was fully engulfed in flames.
During the investigation into the incident, deputies were told the owner, 40-year-old William Stephens of Port Huron, had recently purchased the boat and was taking it out for the first time, hauling a personal watercraft behind. He put in gas at a marina, and then headed out to the bay. While heading out, he said he heard popping noises and discovered the engine had caught fire.
A 14-year-old boy from Port Huron who was sitting next to the engine compartment was burned over 40% of his face and body. He was flown to U of M Hospital for treatment. The other two that were injured, a 15-year-old girl and 37-year-old woman, both from Port Huron, were taken to McLaren Hospital for treatment of their burns. Stephens was not injured.
All four managed to jump out of the boat into the water before the vessel became fully engulfed in flames. A passing boat assisted in getting the four out of the water.
The boat and PWC were taken to Michigan Marine Salvage in Harrison Township. Investigation into the incident is ongoing, with a Sheriff’s Office Accident Investigator checking for the cause of the explosion.
Tri-Hospital EMS also assisted during the incident.