An early morning fire Tuesday destroyed ten boats and damaged six others at Hidden Harbor Marina at Holmes Creek on Center Hill Lake.
DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green says firefighters received the call around 1:30 a.m. \"We were called to Hidden Harbor Marina to a reported house boat fire. The sheriff's deputies arrived moments after the call and they reported back that we had four or five houseboats on fire. When we arrived we found that we had about five or six houseboats on fire that had been cut loose from the marina. We also had more boats attached to the pier that were still on fire. There were a total of ten houseboats or pontoon boats that were actually burning and were destroyed and six more boats were damaged. There was no one on the boats at the time so no one was injured. Thankfully, none of our fire fighters were injured either because it's a very risky situation when you're fighting a fire on the water.\"
Green says TWRA officers were of great assistance to the volunteer firefighters. \"I can't say enough about the help we got from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Officers Ben Franklin, Tony Cross, and Tommy Alexander did an excellent job. They got their quickly and they helped us. We couldn't have been successful in getting the fire controlled without their help. They did a remarkable job along with my volunteer firefighters who were there. With the help of the TWRA, We were able to pull the burning boats away from the pier and to isolate and secure them so they would not drift back into the dock. From the time we arrived until the time we controlled the fire, we did not lose any more boats other than those already on fire when we got there and we were able to isolate the fire with very minimal structural damage to the marina.\"
Green says the origin and cause of the fire is undetermined. \" We don't know how it started because at the time the fire was discovered, the gentleman at the marina who saw the fire, said there were multiple boats already involved, so at this point we don't even know which boat the fire started on. That is something the investigators will have to determine when they come in and start looking at this.\"
Members of the Cookeville Highway Station, Short Mountain Highway Station, and Midway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded. Firefighters also used a boat equipped with an on board pump along with portable pumps to help fight the fire.
TWRA had three officers and three boats on the scene and two officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department rendered assistance.
DeKalb EMS also stood by as a precaution to provide medical support.