JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – Work continued Tuesday to clean up and recover boats at the site of a boat dock fire that killed 8 people and destroyed dozens of boats early Monday morning.
Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus said in a briefing Tuesday morning they did not believe the death toll would rise as recovery efforts continued.
Crews were beginning Tuesday to remove four boats that drifted out on the water and sank, Jackson County EMA Director Paul Smith said. The boats pose a navigational hazard and also environmental, due to the fuel that could leak.
Teams also were monitoring the oil and gas that had already leaked from some of the destroyed boats. ADEM has sampled water multiple times and will continue to do so the rest of the week until they’re satisfied there’s no environmental impact, Smith said.
“It’s not going to cause a great concern but anytime you introduce oil or gas or any type of chemical into water it’s naturally going to seep into grass and things like that. It could kill aquatic vegetation. They don’t expect there to be any human impact or environmental impact.”
Jackson County Park is currently closed to the public.
The fire began just after midnight and quickly consumed the dock as people slept. The wooden dock and at least 35 vessels went up in flames and an aluminum roof that covered many of the boats melted and collapsed, cutting off escape routes and raining debris over the area as boaters leaped into the river.
Five boats that had broken loose from the dock during the fire had been removed from the water, Smith said. Boats that contained the remains of victims also were removed.
The identities of the people killed in the fire still have not been released. Necklaus said the identification process was being conducted by state forensics officials and could take up to six months.
FNB Bank has set up a fund to help people recover from the disaster. Donations can be made at any FNB Bank branch to the Jackson County Park Disaster Relief Fund.