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Fire on boat in Detroit neighborhood hurts boy, uncle

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A boat fire left a 10-year-old boy and his uncle seriously burned Friday evening in Detroit’s Petosky-Otsego neighborhood, city authorities said.

The pair had been working on a 28-foot vessel in a vacant lot beside a home near W. Boston and Broadstreet at about 8:30 p.m., Deputy Fire Commissioner David Fornell said.

Investigators determined the two were about to start the motor when the boat “flashed,” Fornell said.

That sparked flames so high, a neighbor who called 911 initially reported it as a dwelling fire, Fornell said. When fire crews arrived, the blaze “was totally involved,” he said. “The boat was big enough that they had to lay lines to the hydrants like they would a garage or house fire.”

Detroit police also were called to the scene, spokeswoman Jennifer Moreno said.

The boy and his uncle, whom fire officials listed as a 59-year-old man, both were on the ground.

The 10-year-old was rushed to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. His condition was unclear Friday night, but emergency personnel reported the child appeared to have second-degree burns over at least 12 percent of his body, Fornell said.

His uncle was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital with third-degree burns on his face, arms and feet, Fornell said.

The blaze was extinguished by 10 p.m. The cause is still under investigation, Fornell said.

mhicks@detroitnews.com