4 people burned when boat explodes while refueling at Detroit River marina

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit — Four people were rushed to the hospital Thursday night after a boat exploded while refueling at a marina near downtown on the Detroit River.

The boat exploded about 6:55 p.m. at the Riverside Marina on the 11000 block of Freud. That's south of East Jefferson and west of Dickerson.

Detroit firefighters extinguish a boat that exploded while refueling Thursday night on the Detroit River.

Dave Fornell, deputy commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department, said two women and two men onboard suffered first- and second-degree burns and were taken to the hospital.

A 27-year-old woman had first-degree burns on both feet. A 35-year-old woman had first- and second-degree burns on her right foot. A 50-year-old man had first- and second-degree burns on both calves. A 31-year-old man had first-degree burns on both calves.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown and the boat is "pretty much screwed up," Fornell said.

Fornell said the department's new fire boat, a 32-footer named in honor of the late Sgt. Sivad Johnson, was dispatched to the scene. 

Johnson was off-duty last month when he dived into the Detroit River to rescue three girls who were drowning. He saved the girls, but died himself.

August:City honors firefighter who died saving children in Detroit River

Afterward, the Detroit Fire Department said it considered Johnson's a line-of-duty death and named both a boat and a fire truck in his honor.

The smaller boat allows the department to get to marinas quicker and maneuver better in tight spaces, Fornell said. While the main fire boat might have taken 16 minutes to make the scene, the 32-foot fireboat gets there in about 3.5 minutes. 

"It put water to the fire" and extinguished the blaze, along with firefighters at the scene, Fornell said.