Marina blaze destroys 20 boats

Firefighters able to save about 130 boats by pushing them free

Published: Saturday, Dec. 20 2008 12:50 a.m. MST

Flames reflect on the water of Lake Powell after a Thursday night fire at the Halls Crossing Marina ignited dozens of watercraft. The cause of the blaze is not known.

Ralph Hughes, National Park Service

Federal investigators are en route to a remote part of Lake Powell where 20 boats were destroyed in a marina fire.

The fire was reported about 11:23 p.m. Thursday by someone who called 911 reporting flames coming from the covered slips at the Halls Crossing Marina, a remote part of Lake Powell on the Kane/San Juan County border. National Park Service firefighters from all over responded, some flying up from Page, Ariz., to help.

Photographs provided to the Deseret News showed boats engulfed in flames and burned out hulls floatingon the water. There were more than 150 boats moored at the marina — firefighters saved about 130 of them.

"Some of the firefighters were literally pushing boats away from the docks to prevent more fires," said National Park Service spokesman Pat O'Driscoll. "They used a fire boat to tow burning vessels away from the burning marina."

Three boats sank into the icy 200-foot deep waters. The fire was finally extinguished about 3 a.m. Friday.

"We had concessionaires, anyone and everyone out there helping," O'Driscoll said.

The fire caused an estimated $5 million damage, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area said. Investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Utah State Fire Marshal's Office are en route to begin investigating the cause. Authorities said it was too early to say if the fire was suspicious or accidental. The slips do have electricity running to them, they said.

Anyone who was staying at the marina is believed to be safe.

"There just isn't anybody around there to speak of this time of year. People do stay on the boats this time of year for short periods of time," said Max King with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. "We haven't confirmed that anyone was on a boat at this time. We believe if they were on there, they are safe."

Anyone with information on the fire is asked to call Glen Canyon authorities at 928-608-6301.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com

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