Boat explosion off Stock Island injures 2

A 32-foot boat Monday exploded Monday in a channel just off Stock Island, sending two men to a Miami hospital by air, county officials said.

Monroe County Fire Rescue responded at 9:29 a.m. to the explosion near the Stock Island Marina. Four people were aboard the Contender when the explosion took place, said county spokeswoman Cammy Clark. Two suffered burn injuries.

William Parker, 53, of St. Augustine and boat owner Wendal Lynn, 42, of Waynesboro, Ga., were taken by Monroe County Trauma Star to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

Two other men, Ronald Miller, 34, and Don Mosely, 55, both of Lyons, Ga., suffered minor injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene.

“Preliminary information indicates the explosion may have been caused by Parker lighting a cigarette, which ignited gas fumes,” Clark said. The boat had just stopped at the marina gas station for about 85 gallons of fuel, according to an incident report of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Monroe County’s Deputy Fire Marshal and the state Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen