Officials identify 3 found dead in Lake St. Clair boat fire

North Dakota man, his dog, Grand Rapids man and woman found dead on boat

3 people, dog killed in boat cabin fire on Lake St. Clair
3 people, dog killed in boat cabin fire on Lake St. Clair

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office released the identities of three people who were found dead July 3 inside the cabin of a Chris Craft boat that was docked at the Fox Marine marina just off of Lake St. Clair on South River Road in Harrison Township.

Mark Matthews, 60, of Williston, North Dakota, Jason Miron, 43, of Grand Rapids, Mich. and Stephanie Arzola, 41, also of Grand Rapids, were found dead along with a dog that belonged to Matthews. The dog was a Labrador and Pointer mix, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities said the trio were staying the night on the 1987 Chris Craft. They were last seen alive about 2 a.m. Saturday, July 3.

“After a thorough examination of the boat by the Macomb County Sheriff’s fire investigators, the cause of the fire will be listed as unknown,” reads a statement Friday from the Sheriff’s Office. “It is believed that the fire started within the main living area of the cabin on a couch. The ignition source and first materials to catch fire could not be located to it either being removed or consumed by the fire. Electrical issues were ruled out as cause.”

The Sheriff’s Office added that smoking and smoking material could not be ruled out or proven. The cabin did have a working smoke detector at the time of the fire.

The Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that 911 calls reported heavy smoke coming from the docked boat, and that the boat may have been on fire. The local fire department reportedly extinguished any signs of a fire upon arrival at the scene. Neighboring boats reportedly confirmed to police that three individuals were staying on the boat at the time.

Officials have not yet explicitly said that a fire caused the deaths.


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.