A MAN has been burned, and his dog killed, after his houseboat blew up and then sank in a Doncaster canal yesterday.
The 66-year-old boat owner managed to get to the bank, but was beaten back by flames when he tried to go back on board in a vain attempt to rescue his pet.
Other people whose boats were moored nearby on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Low Lane, Kirk Bramwith, moved them away from the blazing wreck.
The incident was reported to emergency services at 4.30am when flames were seen shooting from the 15ft cabin cruiser at Bramwith Lock.
When firefighters from Thorne station arrived they could see a boat was engulfed in flames, but the only person who had been on board was on the bank.
There was little they could do to extinguish the blaze because the boat, believed to be constructed of fibreglass, was so well alight.
Shortly after they arrived it sank.
Yesterday a charred life ring and the top of the boat was all that could be seen of the wreckage above the surface of the canal.
It is believed the explosion occurred because gas had been leaking from a canister during the night, and it was ignited when the boat owner lit a cigarette.
He managed to get off the boat, but then realised his dog was still on board so tried to go back but the flames and heat were too intense.
The dog perished in the fire and went down with the boat.
Police said the man, who has not been named, was taken to hospital to be treated for burns to his face, hands and feet.
He was detained in hospital but details of his condition have not been disclosed.
A spokesman for the Canals and Rivers Trust, which now manages Britain’s canals, said last night: “This fibreglass boat is in a poor state now and will need to be removed from the water.
“There is not an awful lot of it left, and what’s left will have to be taken out of the canal in the next few days when we have contacted the owner.”
The spokesman reminded other boat owners to be vigilant about safety when using gas to provide cooking facilities on boats.