Boat owners devastated seeing aftermath of Highport Marina fire

POTTSBORO, Texas (KXII) -- The fire that ruined 17 boats Wednesday left behind lots of damage-- now, the cleanup process has begun.

Boat owners Lennie and Lisa Nicholson owned a 42-foot Carver boat for the past three years on the U-Dock, where the fire spread rapidly Wednesday and burned for nearly six hours.

"Shock really, I almost didn't believe it," Lennie Nicholson said when he arrived at the marina Thursday.

Him and wife Lisa described the U-Dock as a neighborhood.

"It's like watching your house go down and watching your friends house next to you go down," he said. "Watching the neighborhood go up in flames in 10 minutes."

It was a neighborhood of friends, who they said would gather on the weekends, share stories, laugh and relax together.

"The boat is really just an excuse to come out and be with friends," Nicholson said.

Now, what's left of their boat is somewhere under the dock-- one of 17 boats destroyed and sunken.

 

Hazardous waste crews have been out all day trying to remove debris and assess the water for dangerous chemicals.

"The diving crew is gonna have to assess the situation of the water to see if it's safe enough to go in the water and get those boats out," said Paul Ayres, an investigator for the State Fire Marshal's office.

He said once the boats are removed from the water, investigators will know how the fire started.

Witnesses said a man was working on a boat when it sparked and lit the entire dock on fire at around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"These are very hard fires to put out," Ayres said. "It spread very quickly boat to boat so they did a great job."

The U-Dock neighborhood may be gone, but the community should be back in no time.

"When we rebuild it and put it all back together again we'll h ave one heck of a party," said Lennie Nicholson.

The Nicholson's said they will be back on the U-Dock when it is rebuilt. They said they did have boat insurance.

It is still unclear when dive crews will be able to remove the boats, some of which are 25 feet underwater, officials said. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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