CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Authorities are working to figure out what caused a boat to explode and catch fire at the Harborage at Ashley Marina Monday morning.
Charleston Firefighters and EMS were called to the marina at 9:53 a.m., according to the Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch Center.
Firefighters arrived within five minutes and reported a 32-foot recreational boat in the water near fuel docks was well-engulfed, Charleston City Chief Fire Marshal Michael Julazadeh said.
A second boat, a 50-foot recreational boat, and a portion of the dock, was also on fire.
The first boat sank at the dock because of the damage it sustained, Julazadeh said. Authorities say two people on board the 32-footer were able to escape the fire.
Firefighters from the dock and Marine 101 were able to extinguish the fire and control damage to the immediate area, Julazadeh said.
Officials from the hazmat team and the Coast Guard responded to assist with containing fuel spilled from the vehicles that caught fire.
Those crews placed containment booms, temporary floating barriers, in the water to control any possible fuel leaks.
Witnesses say they heard an explosion before the boat caught fire and sank.
Matthew Chase who works at the marina said he was fueling up the boat right before the flames erupted.
"I stepped back like we always do, standard procedure and then he went to start the boat and it must have sparked something and it blew up," Chase said.
He said he feared there would be another explosion.
"Just crazy, I know that they say when it blows up it may blow up again," Chase said."There's a lot of fuel lines, a whole bunch of fuel even up here so I ran pretty far away."
The smoke could be seen rising above the James Island Connector and from Glenn McConnell Parkway in West Ashley.
"I'm really glad our dock wasn't closer," said Wanda Temple who has lived at the marina for 17 years. "I smelled it and then when I came out I saw the smoke and didn't hear boom. Actually it was really just the smell of fuel in the air."
Chase says he's glad no one was hurt.
Units with Charleston, North Charleston, Saint Andrews Fire Department, Charleston EMS and Charleston PD were dispatched to the scene, he said.
A woman who has lived at the marina for the last 17 years said nothing like this has ever happened since she has been there.
Fire investigators have responded to the scene to assess damage.
No injuries were reported, Julazadeh said.