Marinas on both coasts sustained heavy losses from unrelated fires reported within hours of one another in late February. Authorities believe one fire, which left two people dead, was intentionally set.
Hundreds of vessels were damaged or destroyed when a fire broke out in a boat storage warehouse at Sundance Marina on the Columbia River in Portland, Ore. Firefighters responded to the Tomahawk Island yard at about 2030 on Feb. 28 and continued fighting the blaze well into the next day. Nobody was injured.
Some 350 recreational boats were stored in the 300-foot-long warehouse when the fire started and most were damaged by fire or debris, according to local news reports. Authorities estimate the losses at nearly $24 million.
About six hours after the Portland fire started, firefighters responded to an unrelated blaze at the Dozier Yachting Center in Urbanna, Va., that damaged 20 boats and left two people dead.
The fire reported at about 0430 on Feb. 29 also damaged buildings and two vehicles parked at the marina. Fire crews had the blaze under control about four hours after arriving at the facility located on the Rappahannock River roughly 15 miles from the Chesapeake Bay.
Virginia State Police considered the fire suspicious and were treating it as arson, according to local media. Police said Julie and Frank Blantz of Urbanna, who apparently spent the night on their boat, died in the fire.