Eight dead in US boat dock blaze: fire chief

2020-01-27 21:05
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Eight people were killed in a late night fire that swept through docked boats on a lake in the southern US state of Alabama, the local fire chief said Monday.

"At this point, I can confirm eight fatalities," said Gene Necklaus, the fire chief of Scottsboro, Alabama, a town of 14 000 on the banks of Guntersville Lake where the blaze broke out.

Necklaus had earlier said eight people were missing, but in giving the same number of fatalities said "it doesn't mean the recovery effort is over."

The fire broke out around midnight Sunday into Monday, tearing through a dock area on the lake and destroying 35 boats.

Necklaus called the scene "one of the more devastating things I've ever seen."

He said some people jumped into the water to escape the flames, and others retreated to other boats.

"Of those, seven were removed from the water and transported to a (hospital) all in stable conditions at this point. All told, we believe that 35 boats were destroyed," he said.

The dock was in a recreational area of Jackson County Park that had walking paths, a restaurant and boat ramps as well as the dock.

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