The fire originated from a gas stove in the boat’s kitchen and within seconds spread all over the boat.

A houseboat used for ferrying tourists through the Ashtamudi Lake here was destroyed in a fire at about 9.30 a.m. on Sunday. At the time of the incident, there were only three employees of the boat on board.

They jumped from the boat and swam to safety.

The fire originated from a gas stove in the boat’s kitchen and within seconds spread all over the boat. Soon the entire thatched roof, furniture, a generator, and the deck were reduced to ashes. The boat had two fully-furnished bedrooms.

A group of tourists from Thiruvananthapuram had booked the boat to cruise the lake from 11 a.m. The fire spread from the stove when the employees lit it to prepare lunch for the tourists.

The police said that had the boat caught fire while sailing with the tourists on board, it would have resulted in a major tragedy. Since there were two LPG cylinders inside the boat, others in the area were wary of going near the boat to put out the flames. Within minutes both the cylinders exploded.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel reached the site in four fire tenders. It took more than two hours to bring the fire under control. The loss was put at Rs.50 lakh.

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