On-board stove accident severely burns man

A flash fire ignited by a sailboat’s stove sent two South Kitsap residents to the hospital with burns on Wednesday.

According to official reports, a 58-year-old man who lived aboard his 42-foot sailboat at the Port Orchard Yacht Club accidentally ignited a fire around 3:45 p.m. while fiddling with the on-board stove.

Fire District 7 spokeswoman Lisa Kirkemo said the man had apparently been priming the stove and managed to ignite fumes emanating from the fuel he used.

The resulting fireball enveloped the man, burning him severely. It also started smaller fires inside the boat, igniting easily flammable items such as curtains.

The man’s visitor, a 60-year-old South Kitsap woman, was also burned — either from the initial blast or from battling the flames. Luckily, Kirkemo said, the residual fires were small and easy to extinguish.

“The fire was out by the time we got there,” she said. “It was just stuff that burned from the flash burn.”

The man had to be airlifted directly to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to receive treatment for his burns. He was listed in serious condition Thursday night. The woman, who was much less badly injured, was treated and released from Harrison Hospital.

Port Orchard Police officers responded as well, but didn’t see anything that needed to be investigated.

“It appears to be accidental,” said Sgt. Jan Meyers.

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