Salmon Arm  

Survivor tells story of escaping houseboat blaze on Mara Lake

Escaped 'by grace of God'

A survivor of a houseboat fire on Mara Lake says his family got off the boat with only seconds to spare.

Jon Wit was one of 21 people onboard when the boat went up flames early Tuesday.

"It was just, you know, by the grace of God and good luck that we got out of there seconds ahead of that whole boat going up," Wit told CTV News.

The extended family were vacationing from Saskatoon and had rented the 75-foot vessel from Sicamous Houseboats Monday afternoon.

They had parked for the night, and Wit said he started the generator because he "was a little worried that the batteries were getting run down."

After a while, the boat lost power, and Wit opened the door to the back deck to see what had happened.

"I was just hit with a blast of heat and smoke... The flames were coming out from under that generator compartment and the whole area around the whole back deck was on fire."

He yelled out, and everyone scrambled to the beach.

"There were flames 30-40 feet high in the air," Wit said. "Honestly, another 30 seconds … we may not have made it out of there."

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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