Yacht Explodes Following Negligent Inspection


Fire Investigation ExpertThis case involves a man who purchased a yacht at a marina in Connecticut and ordered an inspection before buying. During the inspection, it was noted that the starter required replacement. Shortly after the man bought the boat, it was held by the dock for repairs, including replacing the starter. Following the completion of repairs, the owner used the boat several times in the span of a week without incident. After the owner refueled the boat, he found that he could not restart it. The owner was provided a jump box by the marina and was instructed on how to properly hook it up by a marina employee. Once the jump box was hooked up, there was an explosion. It was alleged that there was a cracked fuel line in the boat that the inspector missed. An expert in fire cause and origin with experience investigating boat fires was sought to review the matter and address causation and liability.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your background in fire investigation as it relates to this case.
  • 2. How might you determine which party is liable for the fire?

Expert Witness Response E-344930

I am a certified fire explosive investigator, a certified vehicle fire investigator, a certified marine investigator, and a certified marine instructor IAMI with 35+ years of experience in the fire services industry. I have reviewed many vessel fires with similar circumstances. Determination of liability requires referencing the purchase agreement, surveyor report, dock repairs, fuel line classification, age, and installation. Fueling the vessel needs to be discussed along with the complete fuel system. I would like to establish whether the fuel line cracked prior to the initiation of the explosion or was caused by the explosion. As for the marina, the jump-box should be examined and the person who showed him how to hook it up should be interviewed. Let’s determine exactly why and how this vapor entered the vessels closed compartment.

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