Captain Severely Burned in Boat Fire on Housatonic River

The captain of a clamming boat that caught fire at the mouth of the Housatonic River on Saturday afternoon is being treated for third-degree burns on both arms, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

He was one of four people on board the boat when the fire broke out, the Coast Guard said. The flames were doused and the three other passengers have been taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

Boaters Bob and Joyce Kristoff were on the water at the time and saw the cloud of smoke around 12:30 p.m. They headed toward the burning vessel and saw three men in the water, one of whom was wearing a life jacket.

Joyce Kristoff said they pulled him onto their swim platform while other clam boats started spraying the flames and picked up the other men. They dropped the rescued sailor off at Knapp's Landing.

"Any boatman out there is your fellow boatman," Joyce Kristoff said. "You've got to help."

The Coast Guard responded to the scene, along with Stratford police and fire officials from the Stratford, Bridgeport and Milford fire departments.

Coast Guard officials said the boat was anchored in the water between Stratford and Milford.

According to the Coast Guard, the fire was knocked down just before 2 p.m. and the boat was towed to shore.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Bonavita.

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