Harrison County

Fisherman heard a popping sound, wound up overboard

The Gulfport Fire Department used its boat to douse an engine fire Wednesday afternoon in the Mississippi Sound.
The Gulfport Fire Department used its boat to douse an engine fire Wednesday afternoon in the Mississippi Sound. Pat Sullivan

A fisherman jumped into the Mississippi Sound after his boat engine caught fire and slightly burned him Wednesday afternoon.

Gulfport Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt said the department used its custom-made fire boat to douse the flames in just two minutes. He said the department received a call about the fire at 1:30 p.m.

The fisherman, Davis Nguyen, 49, of Long Beach, told firefighters he first heard a popping sound from the engine on the 20-foot boat.

“When he opened up the engine compartment,” Beyerstedt said, “the fire blasted out at him and burned his face and hands.”

Firefighters Lance Ransonet, Ryan Carter, and Justin Powell headed out in the fire boat from the Gulfport Harbor. Nguyen’s boat was just south of the state port next door. The boat has equipment to suck up water and shoot it out at 1,000 gallons per minute.

Beyerstedt said Nguyen had waded ashore by the time firefighters arrived. American Medical Response offered to take Nguyen to the hospital, but his burns were minor and he planned to seek treatment on his own.

Beyerstedt said the department rarely gets a call about a boat fire. The 32-foot fire boat, he said, also is used for dive rescue, assisting stranded boaters and search and rescue.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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