Man burned while trying to start boat

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

FAIRBANKS - A man was seriously burned in a "ball of fire" while using starter fluid to get a boat engine running at the Chena River State Recreation Site.

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Craig Niles, 59, of Anchorage suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face and upper body.

His sister, Caron Morris, who witnessed the accident, said her brother was trying to get the motor started on his boat when he went up in flames.

"I saw flame on the engine and it enveloped him," said Morris, standing next to the boat after her brother had been taken by ambulance to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. "It was a huge ball of fire."

She said her brother rolled on a grass bank in an attempt to put out the flames. When that didn't work, he ran into the Chena River.

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