Indian River County firefighter recovering in Orlando burn center after flash fire on boat

Internal investigation underway

Normally, the Indian River County Fire Rescue's marine unit would be docked next to the sheriff's boat in the Indian River.


But last Thursday night, it was being worked on inside a bay at Station 2 at Riverside Park when there was a "flash fire."


"Flash fires are usually caused by fumes or vapors off of a fuel source," said Assistant Chief Brian Burkeen with Indian River County Fire-Rescue.


Dustin Hawkins, an 11-year veteran firefighter, suffered first through third degree burns on his face, neck and forearms.  Burkeen said the worst burns were to Hawkins' arms.  He is listed in fair condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center.


"We touch base with the family every day to see what their needs are and to stay up to speed with them.  They're asking for nothing at this time other than best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery right now," said Burkeen.


The boat was impounded and taken to fire-rescue headquarters at the Emergency Operations Center where an internal investigation continues.


"There were three people on the boat at the time, firefighter Hawkins and two others. By those two people being on the boat, we were able to quickly extinguish the fire and provide immediate care to firefighter Hawkins, added Burkeen.


The boat did not suffer any serious damage.  The firefighters' union president said they will be watching to make sure there is a thorough investigation, and that firefighter Hawkins continues to get the best care.