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Marina on fire at night

Eight killed as blaze engulfs 35 boats in marina in Alabama

PortandTerminal.com, January 28, 2020

At least 8 are dead following an Alabama dock fire destroyed 35 boats; some survivors were forced to jump into the frigid waters to escape the flames.

SCOTTSBORO, AL – At least eight people died Monday morning when a massive fire swept through a dock on an Alabama lake and destroyed 35 boats, authorities said.

Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus said all eight people who were known to be missing have been confirmed dead, and “that number could go up, because we don’t know how many were on boats” that sank.

Necklaus said the 35 vessels that burned ranged from 20-foot pontoons to 40-foot houseboats that some people were using as their permanent residence. It remained unclear how many people were on the boats and the dock when the fire broke out.

The ruins of a marina after a fire destroyed 35 boats and killed 8 people. Metal roofing in the water.

The fire began just after midnight and quickly consumed the dock as people slept. The wooden dock and at least 35 vessels went up in flames and an aluminum roof that covered many of the boats melted and collapsed, cutting off escape routes and raining debris over the area as boaters leaped into the river.

The fire spread so quickly according to one resident “we didn’t have time to do nothing,”. He survived but lost his brother in the cold water.

Another Marina resident, Tommy Jones said he watched helplessly as a small boat containing a woman and her children was engulfed in flames. “There was nothing we could do,” he said.

Video footage showed a long dock with flames shooting from what appeared to be a row of houseboats.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Alabama State Fire Marshal, Scottsboro fire investigators and police, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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