For immediate release: 08/01/2016 2:00 p.m.
City of Valdez photo
Valdez, AK – Valdez Fire and Police Departments responded to reports of a minor explosion aboard a vessel in the small boat harbor Thursday.
At approximately 9:41 a.m. on Thursday, July 28th, Valdez Fire and Police Dispatch received multiple reports of a minor explosion aboard a vessel in the small boat harbor. Responders arrived within minutes and found a 28-foot Hewes Craft with minor damage moored at the harbor’s north fuel dock.
EMS personnel transported the boat operator, a 62-year old male, to Providence Valdez Medical Center with extensive burns to his hands, arms, and head. The man was later medivaced directly to Seattle for advanced burn treatment. No other injuries were reported.
Following a preliminary investigation, Fire Department personnel determined the explosion occurred after the operator fueled the vessel. When the operator opened a compartment, an energized heater aboard the boat ignited trapped gasoline vapors causing a flash fire.
The United States Coast Guard also responded and investigated the case. The vessel was later removed from the water by harbor staff, cleaned, and stored in the harbor boat yard.
Posted August 1, 2016
Allie Ferko, Public Information Officer, City of Valdez, Alaska