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Boise musician helps rescue man after boat goes up in flames

Ben Burdick was in McCall to perform but ended up helping save a man's life.

McCALL, Idaho — What might have been a typical gig for musician Ben Burdick is now a day he’ll never forget!

Ben, along with a team of others, helped rescue a man after his boat burst into flames outside of the Mile High Marina in McCall.

People are back out on the Payette Lake this afternoon but it was a very different scene Wednesday afternoon.

It looked like a scene from a movie, but for Ben Burdick the scene was all too real.

“My mind was working really, really fast,” said Burdick.

Ben is a musician who was getting ready to perform at the Mile High Marina when a boat burst into flames.

“We weren’t there not even a couple of minutes and we looked up to see a man staggering out of a boat that was on fire by the gas pumps,” said Burdick.

That man got caught between the boat and a gas pump.

“You couldn’t see him at first and then you realize there’s someone who can’t move and he needs help desperately,” said Burdick.

So Ben jumped into action!

“I remember helping to drag the victim further from the boat,” Ben said.

A gas pump attendant then handed him a fire extinguisher.

“I ran up and tried to squelch the flames, but trying to put that fire out with that fire extinguisher was like charging an elephant with a slingshot it was doing absolutely nothing to the flames,” said Burdick.

When that didn’t work Ben turned his attention back on the victim.

“I just tried to calm him while we were dragging him along the dock and told him it’s not nearly as bad as you feel, it doesn’t look so bad, I know it hurts, but you’re gonna be okay,” said Burdick.

He didn’t do this alone though, Ben says a whole team of people jumped in to help.

“Mile High employees that were pumping the gas for this person did everything just right, they had an emergency gas valve shut off and they got everyone away from the pumps,” said Captain Freddy.

“Without all of those people reacting things could have been far worse,” said Burdick.

Paramedics arrived a short time later.

“What we wanted to do was prevent the gas pumps from going up, and then also the dock was on fire and it wasn’t just on fire on the top, but actually the floatation underneath was on fire so they had to cut the dock away with chainsaws to ensure they got all the fire out underneath,” said Captain Freddy.

Ben ended up not performing but Wednesday’s events struck a chord with him.

“I’m a musician, not a fireman. I’ve heard other people’s interviews who have been in situations like this and now I understand why they say stuff like ‘I’m not a hero, I just reacted.’ You see something has to be done and then you just do it,” said Burdick.

We are told the victim is a man in his 70s who suffered minor burns but was transported to a hospital in Salt Lake City for burn care.

Meantime, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

There are two gas pumps at Mile High Marina. Only one of them will be operational during the Labor Day weekend.