Video courtesy of Nick Matzorkis
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A boat caught fire on Lake Austin Friday, sending black smoke into the air just before 4 p.m. about a half-mile from Hula Hut and the Tom Miller Dam. Two people were burned, according to Austin-Travis County EMS.
One person was declared a trauma alert and taken to a local hospital with “potentially serious injuries.”
ATCEMS said multiple people from the boat were in the water initially, but everyone has since been pulled out to safety. The boat’s owner told KXAN there were six people and two dogs on the boat.
The call happened around the 1600 block of Scenic Drive.
Stephen Truesdell with the Austin Fire Department said crews were first called out to the Westlake Drive side of the lake, where it was reported a boat that had just refueled caught fire in the lake, but not near the marina.
Truesdell said the boat then drifted to the Scenic Drive side of the lake on the north shore near the brush.
Austin Fire crews were doing water rescue training nearby on jet skis, and they were able to move the boat away from the brush.
A fire truck from above helped keep the fire contained, Truesdell said, and eventually the boat sank. A fuel fire continued on the surface of the water. Crews allowed the fuel to burn off before pulling the boat out of the water.
Austin Fire explained they don’t have a cause for the fire right now, but that boats catch fire pretty regularly.
“We were just thankful that it didn’t catch fire at the marina at the fuel pumps,” said Truesdell.
Witness Jordan Goetz was on the water when it happened.
“As we got closer, the flames got bigger, and everyone started to back off because they thought it was going to explode, and then we realized the wind was taking the boat to the hillside and started to catch the branches on fire and started going up the hillside, and that’s when the firefighters showed up,” Goetz said.
Austin Fire said crews are deploying absorbent booms to collect as much residual fuel as possible.