Photo submitted by Rob Gallo

 Solomons, MD – State investigators have completed their report on an explosion and boat fire that occurred early Thursday evening, April 20 in Solomons Harbor. The fire seriously burned a Maryland man. State and local officials are also lauding the quick action of a charter boat captain who pulled the flaming vessel away from the docks and out of the harbor. The captain’s heroics were captured on video, which was provided to

“The refueling mishap occurred around 7:30 p.m.,” an investigation notice from the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office reported. “The owner of the boat was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital with burns to his legs.” The injured man was identified as Michael Shawn Franz. His 1986 21-foot Thunderbird Powerboat sustained $12,000 damage.

While the fire marshal’s reported no specifics on the refueling accident, they did report the incident originated in the rear of the powerboat. Fifteen firefighters brought the one-alarm blaze under control in 30 minutes.

Captain Lee Tippett of the Fin Finder is being hailed as a hero for towing the blazing powerboat out of the harbor where it may have done additional damage.

Contact Marty Madden at


Solomons, MD – Maryland Natural Resources Police have identified the individual who was injured in the fire. Michael Shawn Franz, 38, of Westminster, sustained burns and was flown to a regional trauma center. The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the incident.

Solomons Island April 20, 7:30 pm. — A boat fire has been reported at Solomons Yacht Center.

More details as they become available.