Children injured after boat fire at Eppalock

A MAN and three children were injured in a boat explosion at Lake Eppalock on Saturday morning.

A 36-year-old Melbourne man was attempting to start an inboard boat when the vapours ignited, causing what police have described as a petrol flash-burn explosion.

Leading Senior Constable Darren Scherger said the incident was a timely reminder for boat operators to be extra careful.

"When they're using boats for the first time, or during the season, it's important to vent them," he said.

"Because what happens is the engines have a cover over them and there's no air to them.

"So all the petrol fumes sit on top of the vent and, when they turn the key for the first time, up she goes."

Leading Senior Constable Scherger said the petrol vapours had ignited and caused a flash-burn.

"That's how a lot of the boats actually catch fire and have the explosion, purely from the vapours," he said.

"So it's about boat safety and common sense.

"When you get an enclosed area, let a little bit of air get to it before you start it and then you'll save a lot of the fires you get from ignition from starting."

Emergency crews were called to the incident at Hazlett Avenue just after 10am.

Three ambulances attended and there was a helicopter on standby but it was not required.

"There were three young kids in the boat, it was on the bank so they immediately jumped out of the boat and into the water," Leading Senior Constable Scherger said.

"There was a 14-year-old who has burns to her legs and a little bit to her face.

"Dad's got burns to his arms and the other girls have some minor burns to their legs."

The incident comes after a 29-year-old woman was treated for burns to her face and arm after a boat caught fire on Lake Eppalock in November.

Police described the incident as a "mishap". 

It is believed the engine flooded and fumes were ignited.

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