January 27, 2020 / 5:09 PM / a month ago

Eight killed as flames engulf 35 boats in Alabama marina fire

(Reuters) - Fire swept through a lakefront marina in Alabama early on Monday, killing at least eight people and sending seven others to hospital after flames engulfed 35 vessels from house boats to pontoons, the local fire chief said.

All the people known to have been staying at the dock have been accounted for, but emergency responders will continue searching for victims in case anyone was missed, Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus told reporters.

Seven people who leapt into the water after the fire started around 12:40 a.m. were rescued and taken to hospital, where they were treated and released, Necklaus said.

Social media images showed a row of boats at the marina engulfed in flames in the predawn darkness at Lake Guntersville in northern Alabama. Several of the boats sank, Necklaus said.

Officials at first reported eight people missing, and upon further search all eight were found dead, the fire chief said.

“Our primary objective remains to check every boat, every vessel, everything we can check, to ensure that we have accounted for all the victims,” Necklaus said.

Authorities will continue search and rescue efforts in addition to environmental cleanup before concentrating on determining the cause of the fire, he said.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Tom Brown and Grant McCool

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