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Stolen boat set ablaze on the Ohio

August 29, 2012
Morning Journal News

NEWELL, W.Va. -Authorities are investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a boat on the Ohio River early Tuesday morning.

The boat had been docked in Wellsville and was stolen during the night and taken up river to the Newell Bridge, where it was set on fire, Hancock County Sheriff Mike White said.

No injuries were reported, he said.

The Newell Volunteer Fire Department responded around 2 a.m. Tuesday with one firefighting boat, and the Chester Volunteer Fire Department provided mutual aid with two boats. Firefighters were on the scene until 4:30 a.m., Chester Fire Chief John Hissam said.

The boat was described as a 22-foot pleasure craft, but its owner was not identified.

Workers at the Newell Bridge toll booth reported the incident after hearing an explosion and seeing the boat on fire, White said.

"We've got a funny feeling it was set on fire and sent adrift," he said.

"It looks like they doused it with gasoline down around the bridge and set it on fire," Hissam said.

The boat was towed to Chester City Park for pickup by the owner.

The sheriff's department is investigating. The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Pittsburgh also was notified.



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