Explosion burns 2 boats on Fort Myers Beach

Published: August 5, 2016 10:44 AM EDT
Updated: August 5, 2016 7:42 PM EDT

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — A 70-year-old man escaped with minor burns after an explosion shortly before 2 a.m. Friday that ignited his sailboat and another in the Back Bay mooring field behind Salty Sam’s Restaurant, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and fire crews are investigating the cause of the explosion, though it’s not considered suspicious. The blast took place on the man’s boat, known as the Shaggy Dog, which came free from its mooring, the Coast Guard said.

The man, John Burki, was taken to a hospital in Fort Myers and was in fair condition at Lee Memorial Hospital as of 6 p.m. Friday.

Burki’s ship sank, and the other sailboat was turned on its side against mangroves. A third boat also sustained damage, authorities said.

Burki was arrested earlier this year for alleged neglect of a dog he was keeping on the boat, documents show. That dog had to be euthanized.