Five people were rescued with only one minor injury Sunday afternoon, as a significant boat fire at Woodlawn Beach State Park brought out the U.S. Coast Guard, Hamburg firefighters and several good Samaritans.
Coast Guard officials launched one of their small boats from Station Buffalo after receiving a report of a boat fire at 5:11 p.m., said Lt. Junior Grade Kyle Maxey, command duty officer at Coast Guard Section Buffalo. Hamburg Water Rescue Unit also responded, as did "multiple good Samaritan vessels," Maxey said.
He said the burned boat had five passengers, all of whom jumped into the water "once they realized there were flames on the vessel." All five were rescued by a private boat, with only one minor burn injury that was treated on shore by emergency medical personnel.
Hamburg Water Rescue Unit "actively engaged the fire" and once it was out, commercial salvage company Lake Erie Towing and Recovery pulled the charred ship to the Small Boat Harbor, Maxey said. The Coast Guard brought four of the five passengers to the Small Boat Harbor, while one stayed on the Lake Erie towing ship while it brought the other boat in, Maxey said.
Maxey said there's no clear indication of the cause of the fire, but it was "pretty significant."
"It burned to the water line," he said. "The majority of the vessel was burned, leaving just a charred hull that was towed in. Anytime there's a fire on a vessel, the Coast Guard has a sincere interest in making sure everyone is safe and accounted for."