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Pontoon Boat fire under investigation


May 17th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Fire Department, Medivac Ambulance, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa DOT Motor Vehicle Enforcement and Iowa DNR were on the scene late this morning of a pontoon boat fire located in a parking lot north of Duke Aerial, near Highway 71 and Interstate 80 in Cass County. The fire was reported at around 10:13-a.m.

Atlantic Fire Department 2nd Assistant Fire Chief Tim Cappel told KJAN News when the first crews arrived, smoke was coming from the rear of the large pontoon boat, which is used in a river dredging operation. Inside the pontoons are empty barrels, for ballast, and what was described as an unknown amount of vegetable oil, which was used for rust protection. In the front, was an unknown amount of straw.

Ric Hanson/photo

Cappel said it’s not clear how the fire started, although investigators on the scene were trying to determine if someone may have been sleeping in the forward portion of the pontoon, which had hatch-like openings. They were also looking at footprints on top of the vessel and tire tracks on the north side. For now though, it remains under investigation.