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Published: Thursday, 8/4/2005

Explosion at boathouse kills Walbridge man, injures Toledoan<font face='verdana' size='1' color =#CC0000><b> * New * </b></font>


PORT CLINTON A Walbridge man was killed and a Toledo man working with him was hurt yesterday when a plastic pipe they were filling with compressed air to raise a sunken corner of a boathouse at Yacht Port Beach near here exploded, authorities said.

William J. Shank, 66, of 701 North Main St., Walbridge, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Detective Joe Vidal of the Ottawa County Sheriff s Office.

Joe A. Silas, 64, of 24 West Oakland St., was flown to Medical University of Ohio Medical Center for a cut on his leg, Detective Vidal said.

A hospital spokesman said no information about Mr. Silas was available last night.

The accident occurred about 2:30 p.m. at 1911 Yacht Port Beach Drive, off Lakeshore Drive next to Lakefront Marina in the county s Erie Township.

The two men were among a group of people trying to raise a corner of the boathouse that had begun to sink.

The boathouse has a steel frame and sides, but has flotation material under the docks that supports the entire structure. Some of that flotation material apparently had begun to fail, the detective said.

The men were using the pipes 13 feet long and 12 inches in diameter to augment the flotation material and raise the sinking corner. The pipes had caps on either end, and the men were filling the pipes with air via hoses attached to the caps from an air compressor, the detective said.

The Yacht Port Beach, which features condominiums priced at $149,000 and higher, offers rental docks, according to the Jack Bradley Realty Company/GMAC Real Estate s Web site.

Representatives of the Port Clinton-based company could not be reached for comment last night.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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