Friday, January 7, 2011

Wow, Too Close to Home. Fire at McCotters Marina

Just came across the news on Cruisers Forum that there was a horrendous fire at McCotters Marina in Washington, NC. If you remember, that's where I had Skylark before coming down to Jacksonville. I just got off the phone with one of the folks I knew down there and fortunately, no one was hurt. However, the dock right behind the slip I had Skylark was the one which burned. All the boats are a total loss. There were a few antique boats on that dock being restored, what a shame. Thank God no one was hurt.

Here is the news report and a link to a video posted by WITN news...unreal:

Pollution Now Concern At Marina Fire Scene
Three people were treated for minor injures after an early morning fire damaged at least 25 boats in Washington. All the fuel that leaked into the creek has required the response of a hazmat team from Cherry Point. Booms have been placed in a creek to help control pollution and debris after a fire ripped through a Beaufort County marina early this morning.

Fire broke out around 12: 30 a.m. at McCotters Marina, that's on Broad Creek east of Washington.
Officials say fuel from about two dozen boats has contaminated the entire creek. The U.S. Coast Guard and a hazmat team from Cherry Point has responded to help contain debris and assess the environmental impact. Eastern Environmental, a private hazardous materials company, has been called in to conduct the clean-up.
The fire broke out at the north dock of the marina. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office says at least 25 boats were involved in the massive blaze that had some people literally leaping for their lives. Authorities say most of the boats were a total loss.
One woman had to jump from a boat into the frigid creek to escape the flames. She was transported to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia. Her fiancee, Mark Hundell, was also treated for burns to his face and hands. Both have since been released from the hospital. The sheriff's office says, in total, three people were treated for minor injuries.
Beaufort County Fire Marshal Curtis Avery says about 100 feet of a pier burned and firefighters worked for about five hours to control the blaze.
Beaufort County Emergency Management Coordinator John Pack says they believe the first started on one boat and spread to others at the marina. He says many of the boats lost were one of a kind, handmade or antique boats so right now there is no estimate available. Pack says it's not known how long the cleanup will take.
Beaufort County has just one boat capable of fighting fires on the water and that boat was out of service for scheduled repairs. Pack says because of the intensity of the fire it would not have made any difference.
People gathered say about 80 boats are docked in the marina, and people actually live on seven or eight of them. Boat Owner Mike Little is one of them. Little said, "I heard a whooshing noise. They said there were explosions, but I didn't hear that. When I looked up, my curtains were really red. I looked out the window, and the whole docks were on fire. "
The Bunyan Fire Chief Wesley Williams says fighting this fire was particularly difficult. "The dock is completely burned away," Williams said. "We were fighting from long range, plus everything is covered in ice. So we're concerned about the safety of our fire fighters slipping into the creek."
Chief Williams says they don't know yet what started the fire. They were planning to double check to make sure everyone was out of the boats at sunrise, but everyone has already been accounted for.
Fourteen agencies responded to the fire, including area fire departments, NC Emergency Management and the Sydney Dive Team.

The covered dock behind Skylark

South dock after a storm

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