Bassmaster Elite Series angler Chris Lane, whose boat was destroyed by fire hours before day-1 takeoff at the Lake Dardanelle tournament last month, released the following statement today after the investigation into the possible cause of the fire was completed by representatives of his insurance companies. The conclusion was that there were two separate fires, one in the rear of the boat and another in a rod locker up front. Investigators were unable to find a link between the two.
Following is Lane's statement regarding the investigation:
"Boater's Insurance Agency and International Marine Underwriters have completed their investigation of the fire that totaled out the boat. The belief by all four investigators who performed inspections was that there were two separate fires that could not be linked to each other. There were two fires; one in the back of the boat and the other up front. We first became concerned this was the case when the fire marshal stated the front cover of the boat was pulled up and the left-side rod locker was open and burning when they arrived.
"Boater's Insurance Agency did a fantastic job of handling the claim and finalized the process last week. We really appreciate their help during this. We all put insurance in place for situations like this and it really helps to have a hands-on insurance company when misfortune occurs.
"We are very appreciative that sponsors stepped up like they did. Legend delivered a new boat the next day rigged with a Mercury 250 ProXS, Motor Guide trolling motor, Raymarine electronics, Power Poles and upgrades from TH Marine. All Star Rods, Abu Garcia, Stren, Luck E Strike, Bass Pro Shops, Frogg Toggs and Mustang Survival all provided everything needed to compete last week at BassFest.
"Special thanks go to Kevin Bennett with Lithium Pros for all of his extra help. Kevin jumped in the car and drove 11 hours to see us at Dardanelle. Then he came down to Guntersville and installed brand new batteries. Anytime new technology like lithium-ion batteries are implemented some are inclined to point the blame in that direction. We can safely say the batteries did not cause this fire and are 100 percent convinced the technology is here to stay.
"Thanks also to the fans for their outpouring of support as well as the fellow anglers who voiced their support and offered assistance. It is great to be a part of an industry that looks out for one another."