Three People Dead, Numerous Injuries After Boat Explosion on Tennessee River

Credit photo via Kentucky State Police


Kentucky State Police say a preliminary investigation into a boat explosion on the Tennessee River Friday found an explosion resulted in a flash flare and subsequent small fire inside the tug boat.

The property is owned by First Marine. The boat is owned by Smithland Towing. The workers on site at the time of the incident were from First Marine, Four Rivers Marine Coating, Hutco and Thermal Control. Six people were transported to hospitals for various injuries. There were 41 people present on site, but not all of them were on the boat at the time of the explosion.

KSP said in a release 52-year old Timothy Wright of Calvert City, 56-year-old Jerome Smith of Thibodaux, Louisiana, and 41-year-old Quentin Stewart of Opelousas, Louisiana were pronounced dead at the scene. Autopsies are scheduled for Saturday morning in Louisville.

The injured include 21-year-old Javier Fuenes (minor injuries - transported to Marshall Co. Hospital), 23-year-old Wilson Madrid (minor injuries - transported to Marshall Co. Hospital), James Long (serious injuries - transported to Lourdes Hospital), Tyler Wedington (serious injuries - transported to Lourdes Hospital), Jimmy Lang (serious injuries - transported via helicopter to Vanderbilt) and Billy Counts (serious injuries - transported via helicopter to Vanderbilt).

An investigation is continuing.

Original Story: 

Three people are dead and several more are injured after a boat explosion Friday on the Tennessee River.

The explosion was on a commercial vessel associated with Western Rivers First Marine. When asked about the incident the company had no comment.

The Kentucky State Police say the explosion occurred in a docked tug-boat, which was being worked on around 9:00 A.M. in Calvert City. The nature of the work was not specified.

Calvert City Fire Department, Gilbertsville Fire Department, East Marshall Fire Department, and Palma-Briensburg Fire Department responded, along with Marshall County Rescue Squad, Marshall County Office of Emergency Management, Marshall County Sheriff Office, Calvert City Police Department, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Marshall County Ambulance, Livingston County Ambulance, Murray-Calloway County Ambulance, Mercy Ambulance, and Air Evac. 

A Marshall County Emergency Management official says the incident occurred at First Marine Dry Dock Boat and Barge Repair.

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene and numerous others suffered injuries ranging from non-life threatening to life-threatening.

KSP is investigating the incident, along with the U. S. Coast Guard and OSHA. There is no early indication of foul play being involved in the explosion. 

This story will be updated.