Captain and his dog escape boat fire southwest of Ottawa

The captain of a boat safely made it back to shore after his vessel caught fire and sank in the middle of a lake southwest of Ottawa this weekend.

The 60-year-old man was out for a leisurely boat ride with his dog on Saturday when the 30-foot vessel caught fire in the Rideau Ferry area.

"We saw the smoke from the boat launch at the yacht club and just decided to check it out," said Mason Cassell, describing the fire in the middle of the Rideau Lake.

Cassell said he headed out to try to help, but it wasn't safe to approach the burning vessel.

"Pretty scary and we stayed pretty far back because we didn't want to get caught in an explosion of the gas tanks," Cassell said.

Kayla Gilfillen said they saw "lots of black heavy, heavy smoke" in the middle of the lake.

Ontario Provincial Police say the captain and his dog were able to abandon ship and make it back to shore safely.

"He did make efforts to extinguish the fire once he was alerted due to the fire alarm on board," OPP Acting Sgt. Erin Cranton said Sunday. "There was another boat nearby that offered aid in the way of a fire extinguisher to try to put the fire out prior to the fire crew arriving."

The man suffered minor burns in the fire. Cranton said his dog is in good condition.

Zachary Reynolds-Middleton says a bunch of boats crowded around the burning vessel, trying to help.

"We saw them arriving as the boat was sinking."

Charred debris from the boat was washing up on the shore on Sunday, and police say the sunken boat will be recovered from the lake. The Ministry of Environment has been notified of the incident.

"A large amount of that fuel did burn off from the fire," Cranton said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the OPP says there is nothing to indicate the fire is suspicious.

 

#LeedsOPP and @RideauLakesFire responded to a 30ft vessel on fire in the Rideau Ferry area today. The captain sustained minor burns and made it safely to shore before the vessel sank. The Ministry of Environment has been notified and recovery to follow. @RLTwp ^nc pic.twitter.com/6uTEt5wuMx

— OPP East Region (@OPP_ER) July 2, 2022


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