By Rick Ritter

MIDDLE RIVER, Md. (WJZ) — A group of people are alive after escaping a boat fire in Baltimore County. The vessel was fully engulfed in flames.

Rick Ritter has a look at the damage and speaks with those who were first on the scene.

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Officials say it appears the boat was fueling up when it caught fire. Two people were taken to the hospital. At last check, one remains in critical condition.

The massive fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. Friday at Bowley’s Marina near Middle River. Smoke was seen billowing from miles away.

“We saw the smoke and then someone called,” said Jack Deckelman, Deckelman’s Boat Yard.

That’s when first responders raced to the scene and found a 35-foot vessel fully engulfed at the fuel pier.

“While one of the vessels was refueling, actually, it caught fire,” said Lt. Tim Rostkowski, Baltimore County Fire Department.

It took crews 45 minutes just to put out the flames. The damage had already been done.

Two people were transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center — one in critical condition.

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“Anytime you have a fuel-fed fire, it’s certainly more dangerous than other things,” said Lt. Rostkowski.

The vessel was towed back to Deckelman’s Boat Yard in Essex. The boat is now a total loss.

Jack Deckelman has seen plenty of fires over the years. He and his crew were one of the first on the scene.

“This is one of the worst ones. This is actually the worst one at a marina that I’ve seen around here for a long time,” said Deckelman.

Deckelman knows just how lucky the victims were to escape with their lives.

“Fire department knocked it down quick. God knows what would have happened to them,” he said.

The fire department tells WJZ there were other people on the scene who refused treatment.

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The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Rick Ritter