Man Severely Burned when Boat Explodes
Apr. 23, 2004
Sandra Yi Reporting

Jeff Kirk: "We don't exactly know how it happened, but we heard a pop and that's all we know after that. We ended up pulling him out."

Neighbors rush to help a man who was badly burned when something exploded on his boat. 45-year old Mark Green was in his back yard working on his boat when suddenly it erupted in flames. He suffered burns on his face, neck and arms.

The victim is in critical condition. He suffered burns and respiratory damage. Tonight, investigators are trying to find out how the boat caught on fire.

Jeff Kirk, Neighbor: "I didn't know what to think. I was just in panic mode and I jumped over the fence as quickly as I could and tried to help him as quickly as possible."

A neighbor caught the fire on tape. Flames had quickly engulfed half the boat. Jeff Kirk heard the victim yell for help. He and another neighbor rushed to the man's aid.

Jeff Kirk: "We saw him jumping out of the boat. The boat obviously just blew up in his face and he was burned from head to toe."

Neighbors identified the man as 45 -year old Mark Green. Firefighters say he was working over the back of the boat when something sparked the fumes.

Jesse Valenzuela, Murray Fire Dept.: "The fire started in the engine compartment area in that section, but we don't know if he was trying to start it or if he was smoking."

The victim was airlifted to the U Med Burn Center. He suffered first and second degree burns on nearly half his body.

Jeff Kirk: "Anywhere there was skin showing. He had a short-sleeved shirt on. His arms were burned, his face, all the way down."

Crews also believe the victim may have inhaled smoke and very hot air.

Jesse Valenzuela: "We were very concerned about his breathing because he expressed some difficulty breathing."

Kirk says his friend was talking and coherent. He says what happened is a tragedy.

Jeff Kirk: "I was actually at work with him earlier today and he was excited to come home and work on his boat, and unfortunately this happened."

Fire crews say the neighbors were a big help. They tended to the victim so firefighters could put the fire out. They say the fire was growing fast and could have easily spread to the garage.