GALLIPOLIS — A boat caught fire on the Ohio River in front of the Gallipolis Public Use Area around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
No one was injured in the course of the incident.
West Virginia Department of Natural Resources Officer Bryan Hill said the boat in question’s engine reportedly backfired and ignited the boat’s surface before spreading quickly across the vessel. The driver responded with a fire extinguisher but was unable to control the fire. He quickly fastened on a life safety vest before jumping into the water.
Gallia County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol, Point Pleasant Fire Department, Gallipolis Fire Department and Gallipolis Police Department responded to the scene and were able to contain the fire with no further difficulties after pulling the boat to shore.
Hill said this incident further illustrated the need for fire safety vests and extinguishers on boats, especially with boat traffic likely to increase with the approaching holiday on the river.
“Always need to make sure you have vests,” said Hill. “You’re never sure what could happen. In fact, the driver said, without a vest, the whole thing could have happened very differently.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.