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Missionary 08-09-2007 02:03 PM

Boat explodes in Norfolk Virginia
A Norfolk police officer investigates the scene of a boat explosion at Bay Point Marina in Norfolk on Wednesday. HYUNSOO LEO KIM / THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

By LOUIS HANSEN, The Virginian-Pilot
© August 9, 2007 | Last updated 11:37 PM Aug. 8


A 42-foot sailboat exploded late Wednesday afternoon at a marina in Ocean View, sending debris 40 feet into the air, demolishing the boat and leaving a man seriously wounded.

The man, whom rescue workers did not name, was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital's trauma center, said Battalion Chief Bruce Evans, the Fire Department spokesman.

The splintered remains of the sailboat, a 1974 model made by Irwin, floated around a 100-foot square debris patch at the Bay Point Marina. Witnesses said the blast could be heard across the marina and in nearby condos.

Emergency crews arrived at the 4800 block of Pretty Lake Ave. shortly after 6 p.m., Evans said. They found a badly injured man and the remains of his boat. "There's basically nothing left," Evans said.

Jane Slaterback was gardening in her nearby condo and heard the blast. She immediately looked toward the marina and saw debris flying 40 feet in the air.

“There’s basically nothing left,” Battalion Chief Bruce Evans said of the boat, seen here from an aerial view. Rodger Crawley | Courtesy of Sky 13/WVEC News

"I saw everything coming down," she said.

She went to the scene and discovered the demolished vessel was docked alongside her family sailboat, she said. Slaterback said the injured man was repairing a propane stove on his boat, which led to the explosion. She said she knew the man only by his first name.

Slaterback's boat and about 15 others suffered broken windows and other internal and external damage, Evans said.

Louis Hansen, (757) 446-2322,

Missionary 08-09-2007 02:06 PM

Here is the address for the story with Pictures

PalmettoSailor 08-09-2007 02:16 PM

That's pretty awful. I hope the guy pulls through.

SanderO 08-09-2007 02:20 PM

Propane or gas fumes most likely unless he was one them sailing terrorists who screwed up on his IED.

Seriously... what a tragedy.

sv shiva

Freesail99 08-09-2007 02:20 PM

I wonder if propane caused the explosion ?

Zogumwesterly 08-09-2007 02:42 PM

I've heard the difference between alcohol and propane is wether you want to die quickly or slowly, I think I'll stick with slowly. I hope the poor fellow makes it.

GySgt 08-09-2007 02:52 PM

That has to be a rare occurrence. Feel sorry for the guy, blow up a 42 foot boat and get hurt in the proccess.

Jeff_H 08-09-2007 03:16 PM

I truly feel sorry for the guy as well. These kinds of explosions are far more common than you think on boats with diesel engines and propane systems. As far as I know that model only came with a diesel. At least in my life, the only sailboats that have explosioned that I have ever heard of personally have been diesel engined boats with propane stoves. Diesel engine boats do not come with bilge blowers and the sealed, explosion resistant electrical components that are required on gasoline powered boats, but propane is just as explosive as gasoline. I have heard of fires with alcohol stoves, especially pressurized alcohol, but I have never heard of one exploding.


jorgenl 08-09-2007 03:40 PM

it happened in my marina. The boat that blew up was at the end of C dock, mine is at D dock. It was an absolute mess, Hope the person is going to be OK.

SEMIJim 08-09-2007 03:46 PM

Yow! That would really ruin your day :(. Hope the guy pulls though in good shape.

I dunno... messin' about with a propane stove... When the oven on our old kitchen range died one day, I went and got the replacement part (integrated main oven valve and pilot safety), re-cut and re-flared the fitting, and repaired the thing myself. (My brother thought I was crazy--and he'll tackle just about anything.) But here's the deal: I was exceedingly careful in my work, the gas to the stove was off while I was working on it, and I carefully tested my work after I was done. Same when I plumbed-in the natural gas grill on the patio.

Gas, natural or propane, is nothin' to mess with. I'll hack on electrical systems all day long, without a moment's hesitation, but gas scares the livin' bejesus outta me.

Jeff H,

The boat that was in the slip I'm in, or one nearby, burned damn near to the waterline, and the remaining hulk towed away, due to a fire started by the guy foolin' with a pressurized alcohol stove. (Don't recall what happened to the owner. I know he was taken away by ambulance.) True, it didn't blow up, but still...

I'm beginnin' the think cold sandwiches will do ;)


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