The boat that exploded at Comstock Marina in Brick Tuesday was a 26-foot, 1968 model Pacemaker, fire officials said.
The incident is under investigation by New Jersey State Police since it occurred on a waterway, but Kevin Batzel, chief of the Brick Township Bureau of Fire Prevention, said inspectors determined the boat ignited when its owner started the engine after refueling.
“He went to start it, and obviously there was a buildup of vapors in the rear of the boat, and it ignited,” Batzel said.
“He was able to get himself over the side of the boat and landed on the dock,” Batzel said of the owner, whose name was not released publicly.
The man suffered minor burns and was taken to Ocean Medical Center for treatment. The fire also affected two other boats at the marina, which suffered moderate damage after the burning boat floated into them. It took firefighters about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
“Unfortunately, the boat burned to the waterline and it sunk,” said Batzel.
A small amount of fuel leaked into Barnegat Bay, which was reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection. A crew from TowBoatUS was called in to clean up the leak and remove the vessel.
All of Brick’s fire companies responded, led by Chief Tim Cranmer of the Laurelton Fire Company. The township’s two fire boats – one from each of the two fire districts – fought the blaze from the water.