A boat freshly loaded with 200 gallons of fuel burst into flames off the Antioch shore late Tuesday morning and had to be towed to a nearby sandbar and sunk, witnesses and firefighters said.
Boat owner Wayne Carroll, of Sherman Island, said he'd hoped to sell the 30-foot cabin cruiser and was taking it out for a spin in the San Joaquin River near the Antioch Bridge. He had noticed the engine "seemed to be limping," when suddenly he heard and felt an explosion and saw flames.
Carroll and two other people aboard jumped off and swam to safety, he said.
Meanwhile, San Joaquin Yacht Harbor master Ron Cherry and his friend, Garry Ridolfi, had stepped outside to do some work on the harbor just before noon when they spotted the flaming boat and called 911, Ridolfi said. The fire was reported at 11:53 a.m.
The boat drifted near some wood pilings in front of the harbor, which also ignited and had to be extinguished, Contra Costa Fire District Capt. Jim Howard said. However, the harbor itself had no apparent damage.
Both fires were out by 12:48 p.m., officials said. The boat was towed to a nearby sandbar and sunk, Howard said.
No injuries were immediately reported. Carroll said he was thankful he didn't take along his dog, which normally likes to sit on top of the engine compartment.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has a natural gas plant nearby, the Gateway Generating Station. The fire did not affect the station and no hazards
Staff writer Paul Burgarino and staff photographer Susan Pollard contributed to this report.