2 firefighters hurt battling boat blaze in St. Clair Shores

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Two firefighters were injured by a downed wire while responding to a fire on a sailboat caused by a lightning strike.

Cell phone video captured a nightmare scenario that could happen at any marina.

"The boats lined up like that could be like a book of matches," said Chip Miller, owner of Miller Marina.

It happened at the Jefferson Beach Marina. 

St. Clair Shore fire received a report around 6 p.m. Thursday that a possible lightning strike hit a dry docked sailboat.

When firefighters arrived, a bad situation turned much worse.

"They had to climb on the boat, which was on dry dock. While they were extinguishing the fire, a power line came in contact with the boat," said St. Clair Shores Battalion Chief Matt Hanna.

Two firefighters were on the boat, when the wire came down.

"The two that were injured were transported to the hospital where they are doing OK.  It's non-life threatening injuries," Hanna said.

Pretty remarkable when you think of the damage a live-wire can do.
The power of the electricity fused the wire to the boat while the flames grew in size.

"Downed lines are incredibly dangerous. They can kill you in a heartbeat. These guys know what to look for and you can see that they got hurt," Hanna said.

The firefighters leaned a ladder against the boat and then the wire came down.

"They actually jumped part-way down from the ladder so they didn't get shocked further," Hanna said.

At this point the boat is electrified. They stop pouring water on it, contact DTE and take a defensive position.

"We're trying to prevent the fire from spreading to other things, other boats or other structures," Hanna said.

Those two injured firefighters are expected to recover.