3 hurt, boats destroyed in marina blaze


WITN-TV reports the blaze at the north dock of McCotters Marina in Washington broke out around 12:30 a.m. Friday

The station said one woman had to leap from a boat into the water to escape the flames. Her fiancé suffered burns on his face and hands.

"I heard a wooshing 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," boat owner Mike Little told a WITN reporter.

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 in difficult conditions.

"The dock is completely burned away. We're 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," explained Bunyan Fire Chief Wesley Williams.

WITN reported there are usually about 80 boats docked at the marina and people live on about seven or eight of them. The 180-slip marina is on a creek off the Pamlico River, about 35 miles inland from Pamlico Sound.

Officials say fuel from the damaged boats has contaminated Broad Creek - where the marina is located. The U.S. Coast Guard was on the scene to help contain debris and assess the environmental impact.

Chief Williams said the cause of the fire is under investigation. Beaufort County Emergency Management Coordinator John Pack said investigators suspect the fire started on one boat and spread to others.

He said many of the boats lost were one of a kind, handmade or antique, so putting a dollar amount on the total damage will be hard.

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