For the time being, the University of South Alabama Medical Center is home for Mike Basco and his 14-year-old son, Brian.
The 63-year-old Vietnam veteran and father of seven had his world upended when an explosion on his 1968 Concord exploded Monday night, February 24.
“It was just like a split second. We were sitting there, and then there was an explosion underneath our feet,” Basco said. “It blew the floor panels up and blew the windows out of the boat. We were engulfed in a massive flame, him and I both.”
The pair escaped their flaming home in seconds. Neighbors and fire fighters responded quickly enough to save the surrounding boats, but weren’t able to save the one Basco and two of his sons called home.
He said had they been slightly farther back in the boat, they might not be here.
“Now if it had happened later in the evening, we would both be dead cause we would be in our bunks. And we would’ve been cremated,” Basco said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, though officials believe the first explosion originated on the port side of the cabin. The ordeal left Basco badly burned to the point that he will have to undergo surgery to have skin grafted onto his arms from his legs.
Even so, Basco recognizes that things could’ve been much worse and is just thankful he and his son, Brian, are alive.
“The main thing was making sure that Brian was okay,” Basco said. “That he’s okay and I’m okay and then me and God did a lot of talking the other night.”
Brian is expected to be released on Friday, February 28. Mike will stay for a few more days following his surgery. Because the family had been living on the boat for the last five years, they lost virtually everything in the blaze. If you would like to make a donation to help the family out, click here.