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Old 01-27-2020, 09:35 AM   #1
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Fire at Alabama Docks

What a terrible loss of life. And too close to home; we’re headed to Scottsboro in March. this is not going to be pleasant reading as new details are reported.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/27/us/al...ire/index.html
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:34 AM   #2
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Terrible. Covered moorage is a death trap during fires.
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:13 AM   #3
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I read where some folks were forced out to the seaward end of the pier where they boarded a boat and were eventually forced into the water. Many factors were obviously at play, but I wonder if anybody gave thought to cutting that boat free and pushing away from the pier. I know I would have or even started it and gotten underway if at all possible.
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:39 AM   #4
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Truly regrettable.

Condolences to loved ones.



Trust investigators will find the cause so we all can make changes to prevent this kind of thing.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:01 PM   #5
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This is at Jackson County Park on Guntersville Lake on the TN River. Can't be sure using Google Earth but it appears the covered docks did not have openings or vents in the roofs as modern construction regulations require in most places.

Number of deaths still to be determined as five reported in update and at least three others missing.

Messaging all here, please look carefully at docks and also any fire protection. 35 boats destroyed would seem to indicate no on site fire pumps or hoses.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:10 PM   #6
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The docks were wood. Many of the boats there are houseboats. Efforts in finding bodies have been limited by the roof which collapsed on top of the boats. The fire occurred shortly after midnight.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:50 PM   #7
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Eight additional fatalities found by divers.
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Old 01-27-2020, 01:07 PM   #8
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We live a couple of blocks from the Marina. The marina is very old and the docks were wood fixed, not floating. With the fire most likely starting on the boats close to the shore end, the folks had one option and that was to jump in the water. According to reports people on the dock ran to a boat tied to the end of the dock but it caught fire causing them to jump in the water. The water temp is 49-50 degrees. Glad to hear the rescuers were quick on the scene. Hard to believe.
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:15 PM   #9
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50F water...that will suck the life right out of you. Horrible.
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:31 PM   #10
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50F water...that will suck the life right out of you. Horrible.
Fortunately it was Alabama and fishing reports I found said mid 50's. Cold but certainly better than had it been 40 degrees or colder. At least many who jumped in survived.
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:56 PM   #11
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Went by there a couple of years ago. I can only imagine a fire inside the covered docks. It must have been horrible.

Fire on a boat is certainly something we all think about, but this is a completely different scale of disaster. Not sure I'd know what to do, but for sure I'm going to have an exit strategy next time I'm at a place like that.

Thoughts and prayers for all involved.
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:49 PM   #12
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Dry timbers, fire spread rapidly, metal roof collapsed, trapping some. Smoke from burning FG and plastics was highly toxic. No vents in the roof to vent the smoke. Fire started in slip #1 closest to land side. Occupant's forced to seaward end - firefighters blocked. Only option was the water. Collapsed roof slowed pumpers from getting water on the burning boats from landside. No fire boats close enough to help as far as I know.

Long way to adjacent docks from the seaward end of B Dock - in the dark, in the cold, fog, rain, smoke and fuels on the water. Some boats were cut loose, but they were already on fire. Water is shallow, bottom is knee deep mud!

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Old 01-27-2020, 05:04 PM   #13
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Dry timbers, fire spread rapidly, metal roof collapsed, trapping some. Smoke from burning FG and plastics was highly toxic. No vents in the roof to vent the smoke. Long way to adjacent docks from the seaward end of B Dock in the dark, in the cold, fog, rain, smoke and fuels on the water. Some boats were cut loose, but they were already on fire.


Perfect Storm!
Do you feel the other marinas on Guntersville Lake are safer from fire?

One thing we noticed on the TN River was the age of most marinas. I was simply comparing to the marinas on the lake we lived on in NC. I was shocked as a young person in NC when all the new marinas were open. It was a Duke Power requirement to protect the fish and sea bed or something of that nature. The house we bought had a treasured and grandfathered asset of a dock with a covered slip.
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:37 PM   #14
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I know things are different in a panic situation. But I would do two things right away.

#1) If it wasn't already too late I would cut my boat loose, either with or without me on board.
#2) Into the water I go. I don't care if it is cold or I am in my pajamas. I'v never been to a marina where the closest dock or shore was more that a two minute swim away.

Condolences and prayers to victims

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Old 01-27-2020, 05:49 PM   #15
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Depends! A few years back, a tornado came down the lake and took out several of the older marinas. Alred's rebuilt with all metal. Unfortunately Jackson County was untouched and dated back to the 50 or 60's. Guntersville City Marina was moved from down town (and a real fire trap) to the south side of Big Spring Creek and expanded. I think it was rebuilt with steel - not sure. At least Guntersville FD has a good sized Fire Boat with a Pump & Water Cannon.


Brown's Creek Marina - scares me just to drive by. Same as Jackson County.

The real problem is lack of codes and enforcement. This may force some changes. Many marinas are out in the county where there are few if any applicable Fire and Life Safety codes. TVA is so strapped for money by the Feds - they don't do much of anything these days.

For transients, short term I think you can over night at the old down town marina site - no services, but close to downtown - walking distance to a couple of good restaurants - and the usual "plastic" mystery meat joints.


Alred's longer stays and for services - just watch the channel depth. They also have a mobile lift, and nice facilities.



Don't know much about Guntersville City - haven't been over there in years.



The State Park has a few transient slips (call ahead) with services - shuttle up to the lodge on top of the mountain - decent restaurant - just remember it's a State Park.

Those of us who came back home after careers in the real world - are dragging Alabama kicking and screaming into the 1970's - politics - don't get me started!



PS. Orange Beach & Huntsville - are not really in Alabama!! Ditto Landing (just below the Dam) had a big expansion budget - not sure where that project is.


Thanks for asking.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:00 PM   #16
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The lesson in all this - is to assess any dock you're tied to and have a plan in case of fire. First indications of any problem at a strange dock - cut the lines - fire up the mains - sound five, and get under way!



Special knife just for that - at the ready! Will cut a 5/8" nylon line with one swipe!
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:12 PM   #17
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Rich,


Don't think there were any boats side tied to the dock. Pretty sure all were in covered slips - some smaller boats on lifts. Bigger live aboard house boats likely heavily secured - we've had some unusually high winds last few weeks. Likely all gassers.


This is one reason why I bought a diesel.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:12 PM   #18
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Hmmm. I have a CO2 alarm on board. No smoke alarm. Going to change that very quickly.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:13 PM   #19
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The lesson in all this - is to assess any dock you're tied to and have a plan in case of fire. First indications of any problem at a strange dock - cut the lines - fire up the mains - sound five, and get under way!
True of any emergency. Pre-planning is of utmost importance with different plans for different scenarios. Iíve grown into the habit since entering my LE career. Perhaps itís experience or paranoia...but Iíd rather go down fighting than roll into a panicked ball and take it.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:32 PM   #20
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Horrible, just horrible.
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