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Boat goes up in flames on Hayden Lake

A boat burst into flames and sank after refueling on Hayden Lake this evening with an explosion that shook nearby buildings.

The boat had just finished refueling at Hayden Marina and was heading out of the marina when it exploded, said Rock Lamb, who lives above the marina. His house shook in the blast

“I looked out and there it was in the middle of the lake,” Lamb said.

The owner of a 23-foot Regal power boat, Mark R. Koontz, 49, of Liberty Lake, and his 17-year-old son, had just pumped 30 gallons of gas when the boat backfired upon starting, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said.

The blast blew the engine cover off and ignited the vessel. It was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived, authorities said.

Koontz was uninjured but his son sustained slight burns to his face and singed hair, officials said.

Authorities said boaters that to reduce the risk of explosions it is critical to properly maintain the backfire flame arrester on boat motors, and to run the mechanical blower for a four full minutes prior to starting any motor boat.


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