PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. --The flames and smoke could be seen for hours at the Appomattox Boat Harbor on Fine Street in Prince George County Wednesday evening. Around 5 p.m. witnesses heard an explosion, then saw a boat on fire.
"We were standing there talking then it sounded like a pistol went off or a firecracker," said Milton Emory who witnessed the explosion, "by the time I turned around, the whole boat was engulfed in flames."
"I heard one guy hollering in there and one guy jumped out on the dock and the other gentleman jumped out of the boat, he was on fire and jumped in the water," Emory also said.
Brad Owens, with the Prince George County Fire Department, said the owner of the boat was flown to VCU Medical Center. He suffered third-degree burns on his arms and first and second-degree burns on his face. Owens said the owner was working down in the engine area when the explosion happened. He was in the process of selling his boat and had experienced some engine difficulties prior to the fire.
"The boat was full of fuel, they were taking the boat to Maryland so it had approximately 300 gallons of fuel," said Crista Manieri, who owns the marina.
She knows the victim and said he has had his boat there for awhile.
"It's a very close-knit community and all of us are very concerned about his well-being," said Manieri.
The explosion is under investigation.