Gas attendant saves day when explosion rocks boat

Gas attendant saves the day when explosion rocks boat on Mississippi River

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. - No one was injured in a boat fire on the Mississippi River off the shore of Inver Grove Heights Sunday afternoon.

Inver Grove Heights fire officials say they were called to the Mississippi Pub, a riverside restaurant with a gas dock for boats, at 1:25 p.m. 

Brian King captured the fire on Facebook live.

King said the boat had just filled up with gas at the Mississippi Pub when they started the boat and there was an explosion. He said the windows on the bottom part of the boat exploded.

The owners of the 1983 '36 Carver yacht were taking out potential buyers on a sea trial at the time of the explosion. 

KARE 11's Zach Lashway spoke with the gas dock attendant, Brad Dohmen.

“We got done filling up and I went to go help them untie and I turned around and watched and it just – the windows exploded out the boat and they yelled, 'There’s a fire on it,' and got fire extinguisher," he said. "I shut the gas breaker off and I went and found my boss.”

Because everyone on the boat was on the top level and not the bottom, they were able to climb to safety, according to King. He said they had to let the boat drift away because it was next to the gas.

The burning boat then drifted south from the restaurant to the swing bridge and caught some of the decking of the bridge on fire, according to fire officials. The bridge closed temporarily and remains charred, but had reopened as of Monday. 

Crews put out the blaze and there were no injuries.

The boat, once freed from the pillar of the Rock Castle Swing Bridge, floated about a mile downriver before it sank. Crews say they will pull up the boat later this week. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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