Barge fire on Grand Lake

Thursday, April 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GROVE, Okla. (AP) _ A barge was destroyed when it exploded on Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma, causing a fire, authorities said.

Lake Patrolman Steve Henri, with the Grand River Dam Authority, said three employees of Jerry's Dock Service were working on a boat dock on Monkey Island around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.

When the men began to get the barge's engine under way, it backfired causing a flash fire that ignited a welder and other flammable materials on the boat. Eventually, there was an explosion, Henri said.

Two of the three men were at the front of the boat and were able to escape, Henri said. The skipper, who was driving the barge, was thrown around inside the cabin but wasn't hurt, he said.

Volunteers with the Monkey Island Fire Department responded and put out the fire. Henri said the 38-foot steel barge, at an estimated value of $40,000, was a total loss.