KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Vol Navy boat that caught fire and sank hours before the University of Tennessee football team did the same on the field Saturday has been recovered and towed away. 

When the fire started Saturday morning, all four people, and one dog, on board abandoned ship.

Sam Whisman witnessed the fiery disaster outside the stadium. 

"At first it was like a charcoal grill and then it started rolling and just flying up," he said.  

Whisman said when the boat's owner opened the engine compartment with a fire extinguisher, the flames only got bigger.

A witness describes fire at the Vol Navy dock

"It had pretty much started roaring. And pretty much consumed the boat, the guy ran in and got the dog through the flames," he said.  

RELATED: Vol Navy boat fire sends smoke billowing over Neyland, no injuries

The Knoxville Fire Department attacked the fire from land and lake, a ladder truck sprayed water over the train tracks from Neyland drive. 

Fire Captain DJ Corcoran said the department keeps a fireboat on the water during home games in case of medical emergency or fire on the dock. 

But even then, the said boat fires are tough to fight. 

"You're going to burn a lot quicker. So in a situation like that, you're not going to gain entry into that boat into that vessel, you're going to what we call surround and drown," he said. 

And drown it did, sinking shortly after the firefighters arrived on the scene. The TWRA said the boat was recovered without incident. 

No word on permanent damage to the newly re-opened Vol Navy docks which cost half a million dollars to renovate.

RELATED: New Vol Navy dock opens in time for first Tennessee home game