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Yacht explodes at Hillarys
Evan MacRae and his boat after the explosion.

An explosion on a 32ft yacht narrowly missed burning its skipper earlier this afternoon at Hillarys Boat Harbour.

Evan MacRae had just filled up his boat's tank with petrol just after 3.30pm when his second engine exploded, scorching the back of his boat and knocking his mate on the jetty backwards.

"I just got the fright of my life, it was an enormous bang," said Mr MacRae, who had been on the top level of the vessel.

Staff at nearby Spinnakers restaurant rushed to extinguish the blaze.

Mel McGrath, who owns the petrol bowsers and the restaurant, said his wife rushed outside to help fight the flames on the canvas cover at the back of the boat.

Quick-thinking staff also shut off the supply to the petrol bowsers, stemming the potential for a more serious fire.

Four fire trucks rushed to the scene and fire crews got the fire under control in about 15 minutes.

No one was harmed in the blaze but one woman required oxygen after breathing in potentially toxic black smoke after fibreglass caught fire, which can emit dangerous particles.

The boat, which was worth about $55,000, was partially destroyed in the blast. The cause of the explosion was still being investigated this afternoon.