5 hurt at Bluestem Lake after boat catches fire

Mike Erwin

Three children and two adults sustained injuries late Sunday afternoon after a boat caught fire on Bluestem Lake.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that 12 persons were on board the 1998 Well Craft around 4:15 p.m. when a fire broke out in the boat’s engine compartment. The passengers included seven children between the ages of 1 and 9, the OHP said.

A Life Flight helicopter was summoned to fly two of the injured to a Tulsa’s St. Francis Hospital, while the others were transported there by regular ambulance. Four of the five were treated and released, but a 2-year-old girl with a hand injury was admitted for further treatment.

The OHP identified the injured adults as Bartlesville residents Shaunee Long, 31, and Karen Long, 36. The other injuries were received by a 5-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy, the report stated.

Listed as the operator of the vessel was 32-year-old Matthew Long, who also had a Bartlesville address, according to the state patrol. Additional adults on the boat were Phillip Long, 40, and Ray Mitten, 42. Uninjured child passengers included three girls — ages 4, 8 and 9 — and a 6-year-old boy, the report said.

Troopers said five of the passengers on the boat were not wearing personal flotation devices.

The incident occurred approximately 60 yards from the east boat ramp of the city-owned lake, which is located about five miles northwest of town.

According to the OHP, the fire began as the operator was attempting to restart the boat’s stalled engine. The report said one of the restarts ignited fumes to cause the blaze, which apparently was due to improper ventilation in the engine compartment.

Personnel from the Pawhuska Fire Department and the Osage County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance at the scene.