Investigators pull burned boats from Lake Powell marina

Published December 20, 2008 5:45 pm
Costly blaze » About 15 boats were destroyed earlier this week; the investigation will likely last into '09.
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Investigators pulled burned boats out of a Lake Powell marina Saturday to find the cause of a fire that destroyed about 15 boats earlier this week.

They re-created the scene of the blaze on dry land and were zeroing in on a spot where the fire may have started, said Brent McGinn, chief ranger of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The investigation, on its second day Saturday, will likely last into the new year, he said.

"This is the largest marina fire we've had in collective memory here," he said. The most recent marina fire destroyed four boats.

The fire burned houseboats and cabin cruisers stored in roofed slips at the Halls Crossing Marina, said Max King, a Glen Canyon spokesman. There are electric lines running to the slips.

"The roofs were part of the reason the fire spread as rapidly as it did," King said. Some of the boats were in use by visitors, but investigators believe the dock and all the boats were empty when the fire started. No injuries were reported.

The blaze began at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday and was contained at about 3 a.m. Friday. Firefighters and park rangers fought the blaze as private concessions workers moved other boats away from the epicenter of the fire. About 130 boats were saved from the flames.

The area affected was about the size of a football field. Halls Crossing is the third-largest marina in the park. The fire caused between $3 million and $5 million worth of damage. Fire investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with the Utah Fire Marshal's office, are looking into the blaze.

No park service watercraft were damaged.

lwhitehurst@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">lwhitehurst@sltrib.com

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