Posted by: wlsc1979 | 2012-01-30

Propane Explosion on Sailboat

Hi all,

If you use propane on your boat, please read the below E-Mail I got from Carol today.

Remember if you get a propane leak, propane gas is heaver than air and WILL settle at your cabins sole and in the bilge.

NOT good ! Please be cautious using propane ! 😦

Clarke Lucas


—– Original Message —–

From: Carol deWolf

To: undisclosed recipients:

Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:18 AM

Subject: Jan. 29


Another HOT day in SW Florida while my Alaska friends suffer in cold of record breaking duration. Talked to my next door neighbor yesterday who said it was 55 below at my house and they had gone through 170 gallons of heating oil in 26 days(at over $4 per gallon).


Meanwhile, our day here started out very nicely when we took our 88 year old friend Bud to breakfast in a nearby town, then walked over the the locks and the lockmaster allowed us to stand with him and watch as he locked a boat through–interesting to see it from that perspective as usually WE are the ones on the BOAT. We then took Bud to the grocery store and back to the boat. He had been living in a trailer park and troubled by a skunk living beneath him so had just moved back on his BOAT at the marina, although the boat is in terrible shape. Bruce and I took Bruce’s boat up the river for 1 1/2 hours to determine if it had any further problems. We had returned and were sitting on the boat when we heard a huge explosion, followed by cries for HELP! Everyone ran over to Bud’s boat with fire extinguishers, etc. and when we got there our friends working on the boat next to him were hosing him down and had put out the fire on his boat with the hose also. Bruce called 911 while I helped poor Bud walk up the stairs and had him sit on a rock while we waited for the fire and emergency vehicles. Most of Bud’s hair had burned off and skin burned off his left hand, plus he had gotten burned on his chest and his shirt was in tatters. He thought he might have some LUNG damage as well–altogether AMAZING he was not hurt even worse! Meanwhile his poor dog(Jack Russell terrier), who was also singed by the fire, tried to attack the emergency workers who were trying to help Bud. Bruce was finally able to find Crackerjack’s LEASH and we were able to get him under control, as the dog knows us. Bud was worried about the dog but we assured him we’d see that he was taken care of. I know Bud was in horrible pain as they took him to the hospital in Ft. Myers. He is such a dear, sweet man that we were all terribly upset at how his whole life changed in an instant! He had earlier told me that he was on the list to go see the WW2 memorial in DC this year, as they do that for the aging vets. He is one of “Merle’s Marauders” that served behind enemy lines in Burma. He is also VERY independant and estranged from his kids, who he’d never even told about moving back on his BOAT, as he knew they would be really upset. We knew it was NOT a good idea for him to be on his boat, but it was what made him HAPPY. Apparently he had hooked up the propane stove wrong(can barely see or hear though his mind is sharp as can be) and so gas had accumulated in the BILGE and when he went to light the stove there was the explosion that burned him, his dog, and part of his boat. Bruce and I took the dog over to another of Bud’s friends on a boat and after that the marina owner asked me to find Bud’s cell phone on his boat so we could give the hospital the contact numbers for his kids. Later Dolly called to tell me they were transporting Bud to the burn center up in TAMPA, which is distressing, as we won’t be able to go SEE him now. Obviously his boating days are over and the marina will likely get all kinds of trouble over it, which we definitely don’t WANT, as they are wonderful people! I had a restless night worrying about Bud and hoping he will survive. Since none of us are “family” we can’t even get more information about his condition. Ironically we had been over to see him the night before and he needed FITTINGS for his stove so Bruce and I went to the hardware store and brought them back for him! Now I wish that Bruce had hooked the stove up for him also, but hindsight is always 20/20, as they say.





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