NORMAN, Okla. – Authorities at Lake Thunderbird continue to investigate why a couple’s boat burst into flames Sunday.
“He said the engine just made a big pop,” owner Tiffany Orr told KFOR after the accident. “The back seat flew up in the air and went floating into the water.”
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Officials have not released an official cause of the fire, but there is one danger with inboard motors they want everyone to keep in mind.
“Every owner’s manual of that kind of motor would recommend that they run that blower for four minutes, at least, before they start the motor,” Trooper Amy Cobalt, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Marine Enforcement Section, said Monday.
She said the “blower,” or engine fan, should be a top priority before revving up that engine because it removes the combustible fumes that build up inside the motor compartment.
Fumes that could ignite when you turn the ignition key.
“You think you’re going to have time to grab a life jacket, Cobalt said. “A lot of times, you may not. You may have to jump overboard.”
Adam Bieger’s family is running the blower on their ski boat this Labor Day, while pulling his kids on a raft.
“It’s actually still running. It’s pretty simple,” he said while demonstrating. “It’s just a switch by the key and there’s a light when you flip the blower on…It turns on and then I leave that blower on whenever we’re running anywhere, so it just makes it a lot safer for them.”
Cobalt said that fire Sunday shows why everyone should put on a life jacket before starting the engine.