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Boat catches fire in Sinclair Inlet; 5 people & dog OK

Five people and a dog had to evacuate a boat on Sinclair Inlet Friday evening after it caught fire near Port Orchard, the U.S. Coast Guard and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The fire was reported at 8:17 p.m. June 20, and had apparently started after the group of three women and two men — all Tacoma residents — tried to cook dinner on the boat, which was moored to a buoy.

“It was an alcohol-fueled stove, and for whatever reason, there was a flash explosion and the boat caught on fire,” said Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson, explaining that two of the boat’s occupants jumped into the water after their clothing caught on fire.

Those remaining on the boat evacuated when the owner deployed a life raft, Wilson said.

Several nearby agencies responded to the fire, including the Coast Guard, the Sheriff’s Office and South Kitsap Fire and Rescue. According to the Coast Guard, a “Good Samaritan” plucked the two people out of the water, while the rest were on the boat’s raft.

“Everybody picked up a couple different people,” Wilson said, explaining that none of the agencies who responded had “the correct apparatus to extinguish a fully-engulfed boat fire.”

Wilson said one person had suffered burns and another had minor hypothermia, but both refused transport to the hospital. However, they were taken to a nearby store in order to buy new clothing.

He said the boat was completely burned.

Sgt. Dale Schuster of the Port Orchard Police Department said his department’s boat was not deployed to the incident because “there were no marine officers on duty at the time.”

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