Marina fire destroys dozens of boats; arson not suspected

8:20 PM, Sep 10, 2012   |    comments
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  • Viewer submitted photo of the Springs Dock marina fire.
  • Dozens of boats were destroyed in a fire at the Springs Dock Marina 9/10/12

Part of a large marina in Campbell County now sits underwater after an early morning fire destroyed a dock and dozens of boats.

Crews received an emergency call Monday at around 3:50 a.m. for a large fire at the Springs Dock Resort and Marina a few miles east of LaFollette.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, but it caused extensive property damage.  The blaze destroyed 58 boats and slips at the marina.

Chief Andrew Carroll with the Cumberland County Rural Fire Service said the cause of the fire is unknown, but there is no suspicion of arson.  Any investigation into the cause of the fire will be carried out by insurance companies, according to Carroll.

Marina owner Brian Costello declined to make any comment about the fire.  However, Chief Carroll said Costello reviewed security camera footage of the docks and speculated a faulty charger on one of the boats may have set the dock on fire.

Boat owner John Sullivan surveyed the damage Monday and said he was fortunate to have his boat intact.

"My boat, this is the surviving boat," said Sullivan as he floated past the smoldering wreckage.  "My boat was parked next to the remains of that pontoon boat.  I normally keep it parked in that lift."

Ironically, Sullivan left the boat out of its normal spot while he went home to Ohio for a day to fight fires.

"I left to be a firefighter in Cincinnati yesterday and came back today to finish my vacation and found this mess here."  Sullivan added, "This [fire damage] is what I see [on the job], but this one hit closer to home."

Neighbors say they woke up and heard several loud pops or explosions when fire ripped through the marina.  Fire crews arrived and prevented the blaze from spreading, but the intense flames had already caused extensive damage.

"Looking from here it doesn't look like there is anything left," said boat owner Tony Kitts.

Kitts scoured the burned boat slip for any sight of what used to be his boat.  It appeared any remains likely sit burned and buried in the lake beneath what is left of the dock.

"I didn't have insurance on my boat. That's probably about a $10,000 boat," said Kitts.  "I've had a boat at this marina for 15 years and never had any problem.  I feel really bad for Brian [Costello], the owner of the marina."

As for any environmental damage, TDEC spokesperson Meg Lockhart said the department has been made aware of the fire by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.  However, there has not been any request for TDEC to assist with any type clean up.  Lockhart said once the initial fire damage is taken care of, TDEC will likely test the water quality to ensure there is not any gas or oil pollution from the destroyed boats.

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