Homeowner Tim Dehaan was siphoning old gas out of a boat with an electric pump when he saw a spark fall into a bucket of gas, said Olive Township Fire Chief Duane Wolters.
The gas immediately burst into flames.
Wolters said that Dehaan tried to snuff out the fire, but it got out of control to fast.
“He did burn himself,” Wolters said.
Dehaan went to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he was treated for burns on his hands, arm and leg and then was released, Wolters said.
The boat was in a 40-by-50-foot pole behind the Dehaan residence. It was fully involved in fire when firefighters arrived, Wolters said.
The building and contents — which included the boat, a small tractor, some dirt bikes and a racing truck — were destroyed.
The fire chief said he set a preliminary damage estimate at $165,000.
Firefighters responded to the scene at 8:50 p.m. Sunday. They cleared at 11:30 p.m.
Wolters said they went back in the morning to put out one hot spot.
OLIVE TWP. — The homeowner was injured and a barn destroyed in a fire that started shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday in the 11000 block of Taylor Street in Olive Township.
Several departments, including Robinson and Blendon, responded to assist Olive Township firefighters.
Mark Huyser said that his son-in-law, Tim Dehaan, suffered burns on his arms and legs in the fire, but that he was going to be OK.
Huyser said that Dehaan was inside the large pole barn working on an 18-foot ski boat when the fire started.
Dehaan tried to get the burning boat out of the barn, but the fire got out of control too quickly, Huyser said.
No further information was available at the time on exactly how the fire started, or what was inside the barn.
This story will be updated when more information is available.