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Virginia marina fire destroys at least a dozen boats

The Associated Press

HENRICO, Va. — An early morning fire at a central Virginia marina destroyed about a dozen boats Friday, sinking some and sending others ablaze down the James River.

No injuries were reported in the blaze at the Richmond Yacht Basin, said Capt. Taylor Goodman of the Henrico Fire Department.

Fire officials estimate 12 to 15 boats were likely destroyed, Goodman said, along with part of a boat storage structure.

“The problem is, so much of the structure over the boats has collapsed down on it, it’s hard to tell” the extent of the damage, he said.

The blaze was reported about 7 a.m. by a neighbor who went to the scene and alerted people staying on their boats, Goodman said.

Mitch Romig of Lancaster, Pa., was renting a houseboat at the marina for the night, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

“We heard someone running around saying the marina was on fire. So we got up and got off the boat as quickly as we could,” he told the newspaper. “It was pretty big already (when we got off the boat). I don’t know how many boats on the end were all already … on fire — pretty big flames.”

Images from the area show a plume of smoke visible from several miles away.

Some of the vessels were floating down river on fire late Friday morning. Five or six boats sank, marina President Max Walraven said.

A Henrico County fire boat was trapped by the burning dock and sustained “quite a bit of damage,” Goodman said.

It’s not yet clear what started the blaze.

The marina is in southeastern Henrico near the Chesterfield border, about 10 miles from downtown Richmond.


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