LAKE PLACID - Passengers of a motorboat that caught fire on Lake Placid made it to shore safely, but the vessel wasn't so lucky.
The Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department responded to the boat fire at 3:11 p.m. Thursday with three trucks, two fire boats and 20 members. The incident happened on Lake Placid's east shore, not far from the state Department of Environmental Conservation boat launch.
The boat's three occupants and a dog were brought back to land by passing boats, firefighters said.
A fiberglass Invader pleasure craft boat, destroyed by fire, is towed to shore Thursday by the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department’s fire boat.
(Photo — Ned Scudder)
The boat, a fiberglass Invader pleasure craft, then drifted east, and firefighters responded in a fire boat to extinguish the blaze. After the initial knock-down of the fire, the boat drifted near a dock, which also caught fire. Firefighters were able to move the boat away from the dock and completely extinguish both blazes.
The boat was then towed back to the boat launch and removed from the lake. Firefighters said the boat was destroyed by the fire.
Ned Scudder of Lake Placid was on a hill overlooking the lake when the incident happened.
"You could hear some people yelling," he told the Enterprise. "We looked out there and you could see smoke. I didn't see the passengers jump into the water, but you could see the boat floating along the shoreline.
"The flames went 2 to 4 feet above the boat, but it was hard to tell because there was so much smoke. There was a lot of blue smoke."
Scudder said the passengers were fortunate because there were a lot of people working at camps along the shore.
"They saw it happen and heard the screams," he said. "Several boats came out to try and help the people. Everybody was looking after the situation, and I would bet a half dozen people called in the report."
The Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service checked out the boat's occupants. One person was treated at the scene for minor burns to the feet, while the rest were uninjured.
Ray Brook-based state police, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Lake Placid village police and the village Highway Department all assisted at the scene. Firefighters were back in service by 5:35 p.m.
Fire officials said they have not determined what caused the fire, which is still under investigation.