Galena man dies in boat fire

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2001

GALENA (AP) -- A 71-year-old Galena man died after his boat burst into flames late Sunday night on the Koyukuk River, Alaska State Troopers said.

Archie Thurmond was refueling his boat, about 15 miles upriver from Koyukuk, when it caught fire. Troopers said a hose Thurmond was using to syphon gas slipped out of the gas can, leaking fuel over to a propane heater, which then errupted into flames.

Thurmond was killed and two toddlers who were on the boat suffered second-degree burns on their arms and legs. The children, whose names were not released, were medevaced to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where they were listed in stable condition.

Thurmond was returning from a softball tournament in Huslia with the toddlers, his wife and their daughter, according to troopers. When the boat caught fire, everyone on board jumped into the river.

Around the same time, three boats driven by others who were at the tournament arrived at the scene. The occupants of the boats helped the survivors out of the water and recovered Thurmond's body, troopers said.

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