DUBOIS CO, Ind (WEHT) Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a fire that damaged or destroyed twenty-two boats at Hoosier Hills Marina located at Patoka Lake. The call came in around 8:45 a.m. Friday after smoke was seen coming from a boat in the “A” dock.

Icy covered roads made it difficult for firefighters to get to the marina.

“Conditions of the lake obviously are frozen so just getting in here the roads were ice-covered. Just getting a person out here was a challenge,” said Joe Haywood, an Indiana conservation officer.

Several local fire departments, the Indiana conservation office, and the state fire marshal’s office were on scene tackling the fire. The state fire marshal is investigating what started the fire. What these first responders and other officials do know is that one boat was the origin of the fire that caused a domino effect.

“The boat fire went from another boat to another boat to another boat,” said Haywood.

During the initial investigation, it was determined that after the fire started efforts were made by Hoosier Hill Marina staff to put out the fire.  Two boats were moved from the docks, creating a fire break.

“There’s eleven boats that got totally destroyed in the fire and there’s nineteen altogether so eight of them had some damage to them,” said Kurt Sermersheim, Chief of the Celestine Assistant Fire Department.

“It’s almost like a big house fire. I mean because everything was combined together it was just that you couldn’t get all the way around on it to try and get water to put it out so it made it harder to get it out,” said Sermersheim.

The marina is closed while fire crews continue to monitor for potential hot spots. 

Staff from the marina are working to contact the affected boat owners.

(This story was originally published on February 19, 2021)