Lake St. Clair, MI – Jason and Amanda Anderson were celebrating Amanda’s father’s 64th birthday Tuesday night at a waterfront eatery in St. Clair Shores when they heard a couple of loud booms.
“Everyone thought it was fireworks,” Amanda Anderson said, as she tended to the Harrison Township couple’s 10-month-old daughter Maddie. “Then we saw smoke and flames, and it was game on at that point. It was crazy.”
Turns out the booms they heard were the sounds of explosions after a boat caught fire while fueling up on Lake St. Clair and collided with another vessel, which also began burning.
Two men aboard the first boat were forced to jump into the water as flames surrounded them. They safely made it to shore.
No injuries were reported.
St. Clair Shores Fire Chief James Piper said a 22-foot Bayliner was fueling up about 8 p.m. at Ken’s Gas Dock near Ken’s Marine on Jefferson Avenue, south of 10 Mile Road, when a fire broke out on the vessel. The boat then began floating away from the gas dock when it bumped into a 40-foot boat.
The fire sent thick plumes of black smoke into the air, which could be seen for miles.
“There were some flames and an impressive amount of smoke,” Piper said. “Our guys did a fantastic job.”
Piper said police are interviewing the men who had to jump into the lake to see exactly what may have caused the fire.
Fire crews from the U.S. Coast Guard and Macomb County Sheriff’s Marine Division worked the fire from the water, while St. Clair Shores firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze from shore.
Connie and Chris deRuiter had just finished dinner at Mike’s on the Water when they heard the explosions.
“You feel terrible when you see (the fire) and realize what had happened. You start wondering ‘Is everyone OK?’ And then we saw all these police officers and fire trucks rushing over to help,” Connie deRuiter said.