Boat goes up in flames, seven on board

Published: Jun. 10, 2012 at 3:00 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 25, 2012 at 1:05 AM CDT
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It is a reunion this family will never forget. 
"We were going to go double tubing, got the blowers on, everybody has their life vests on, we're backing up, we're getting it out of the boat dock and it just kind of makes a big pop," said Katherine Foley, the driver of the boat.  
The boat caught fire on Lake Palestine, near Bay Side Circle in Bullard. 
The charred intertubes are what blocked the flames from reaching the seven passengers.
"Two of the older kids were leaning against the tubes to make sure they didn't fly out of the boat. My dad was already running down the hill telling everybody to get out," Katherine said. 
Her niece, seventeen-year-old Braden Foley, was one of the passengers on the boat. 
"I wanted to make sure all my little sisters got off the boat. My grandpa ran and jumped on the boat, and then I was afraid my grandpa wouldn't get off in time before it really went up in flames because it was engulfed by the time it got out to the lake," Braden explained.
"Then my father jumped on the jet ski and made sure the boat was out in the middle of the lake and didn't hit any body else's boat dock or anything else," Katherine said. 
Once they pushed it away from the dock, there was nothing else they could do but wait for help to arrive.
"This is the first one we've had that drifted off into the lake and we had to reach it by boat," said Keith Newburn with the Bullard Volunteer Fire Department. 
Multiple crews worked to not only extinguish the fire, but keep the un-piloted boat from catching nearby docks on fire.
Eventually, the fire was extinguished and amazingly, everyone walked away unharmed. 
"Our grandkids reunion week will still go on, we just don't have a boat," Katherine said. 
Which she says is a small sacrifice when considering how dangerously close they came to losing more.
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