SYRACUSE — Human error is being cited in a weekend boat fire that injured two people in Syracuse.
An investigation by Indiana Conservation Officers Preliminary investigations reveals that a Cabin Cruiser with two inboard engines caught fire when the owner attempted to start the engine after fueling it. The owner told investigators he did vent the watercraft with blowers prior to engaging the engine.
The fire near the Wawasee Boat Company on Lake Wawasee was reported at about 2:55 p.m, according to a statement issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which oversees conservation officers.
Eight people, including the operator, were on the boat and were able to make it onto shore. Two people were transported to Fort Wayne Lutheran Burn Center for treatment for second-degree burns.
The Syracuse Fire Department was able to quickly contain the fire to the watercraft before it sank.
Names of the occupants, including the operator, were not released in the statement.
Conservation officers urge boat operators to run bilge blowers before starting inboard engines for the entire time recommended by the Boat Manufacturer prior to starting the engines. All non-open type vessels built after 1980 that run on gasoline are required to have functional bilge blowers according to the US Coast Guard requirements.
Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, Syracuse Police Department, Syracuse Fire and Syracuse EMS all responded to the accident.
Attempts to retrieve the boat are expected to take place Monday, July 26.