Boat owners recall fire at Lake Barkley marina

Local News

GRAND RIVERS, Ky. (WEHT) While investigators continue looking for the cause of Sunday morning’s fire at a Lake Barkley marina, boat owners continue their own recovery.

Several boats were destroyed at Green Turtle Bay Marina near Grand Rivers.

“I heard two pops, like it was bottle rockets,” recalled Cassie Miller, who owns a boat at a neighboring pier. It wasn’t fireworks nearby boat owners heard early Sunday morning, but a fire.

“I opened a blind, and it was bright, bright, bright orange. So, I thought, ‘It’s 2:30 AM. It’s too early for a sunrise,'” recalled Miller, whose husband was one of several people trying to put the flames out before firefighters arrived. “I opened the door, I came out the back of the boat and I saw the house boat on fire.”

Marina officials say as many as nine boats at Pier 11 were destroyed and many of those boats sank to the bottom. Marina workers and other boat owners started trying to put the flames out as they spread to other boats.

“At one point, one of the boats broke loose from the other pier because of the fire and floated towards Pier 11, and that’s when some of the other boat owners and I kept it off the dock from lighting another pier on fire,” said Chris Ford, who owns a boat in another nearby pier.

“This boat, that was on fire, was coming towards our boat and I called him and said, ‘We have a drifter, and it’s coming right for our boat,” said Miller, talking about a boat that sank near her family’s boat.

The fire is the latest incident in this area in recent years. Two years ago, a boat exploded at Green Turtle Bay while filing up with gas, and earlier that year a fire damaged Patti’s 1880’s Settlement in Grand Rivers. A tornado damaged another pier at Moors Marina last year. Green Turtle Bay Marina officials say no one was seriously injured. The environmental clean up continued today and a salvage team will remove the sunken boats.

“We’re just glad to save the marina because it would have just kept going,” said Ford.

Green Turtle Bay officials tell us they’ve already started planning for the removal and replacement of this pier, but the timing of it will depend on what materials and workers are available.

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(This story was originally published on July 13, 2020) 

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