LACONIA, N.H. (WHDH) - Fire crews responded to Lake Winnipesaukee after a boat engine exploded, sparking fierce flames.

The fire broke out just before 4 p.m. near Weirs Beach when its engine compartment exploded and shot into the air, sending plumes of dark smoke rising into the sky with it.

Captain Bob Duffey was aboard the Mount Washington cruise ship when the fire broke out and said his crew quickly jumped into action to try and put out the fire.

“The engine compartment of the boat shot up in the air about 20 feet,” Duffey said. “Fire started immediately.”

Duffey said his crew was able to get the fire under control.

Bystanders on personal watercraft vessels were able to drag the steaming ship away from the beach before fire crews arrived.

Several people were on the boat at the time of the fire and jumped into the water to avoid injury.

“We encouraged them to swim over towards us,” Duffey said. “Our ship was docked about 30, 40 feet away from where it was and once that fire started it was extremely dangerous because it was going to float over towards us or it was floating into a marina loaded with boats.”

Duffey said he is proud of his crew for their quick thinking.

“I am very proud of them, they are just young men and, as I said, we do an awful lot of training to make sure the vessel is safe and that training paid off.”

One girl was taken to an area hospital with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

Investigators are working to determine what caused the explosion.


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