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.
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|