Franklin County Fire Marshal Jay Mason said today that the boat fire that occurred before 5:45 p.m. Wednesday on Smith Mountain Lake is not suspicious but is still being investigated to determine the cause.
His office is working with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) in the case and hopes to have a decision soon.
Mason confirmed that a family of four were on the boat at the time of the fire and were able to evacuate themselves from the vessel and escape without injury. They were picked up by another boater.
"Thank goodness no one was injured or hurt in the accident," Mason said. "A boat can be replaced but lives can't. Big thing is everybody went home."
He said it was surprising that the boat stayed afloat during the incident. The boat is a total loss as it was fully engulfed in flames. The fire was put out, and crews were able to float the vessel to the shore, where it was loaded on rollback and removed from the scene.
Crews that responded were fire boats from Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue, Scruggs Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Franklin County Public Safety, and DGIF.
A boat caught on fire today on Smith Mountain Lake near the Hales Ford Bridge on Route 122, or Booker T. Washington Highway.
The fire started shortly before 5:45 p.m. today, and four people on the boat reportedly made it safely off the boat.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
According to the Responding Fire page, crews that responded were Company 11 - SML Fire Boats, Company 10 - Scruggs, Company 15 - Franklin County Public Safety (FCPS) Westlake and Med. 15 FCPS - Westlake.