The National Transportation Safety Board has released an investigative report on the deadly fire that occurred at a Jackson County, Alabama marina in January 2020. Jackson County Park is located in Scottsboro, Alabama, in an area on the western shore of Lake Guntersville known as Dry Creek. On January 27, 2020 at 12:30 a.m. a fire broke out on a 43-foot houseboat, the Dixie Delight. The boat caught the dock on fire, trapping 17 people. Ultimately, 8 people lost their lives while trying to escape the fire.
The NTSB’s report faults the marina for failing to observe safety best practices and guidelines that exist in the marina industry:
“Safety practices such as annual electrical inspections, employee fire training, biannual fire drills, and the development of a pre-fire plan with the fire department can better prepare marina staff and boat owners for a vessel or dock fire. In addition, a safety skiff, as recommended by guidelines, can be used by marina staff or first responders to assist in an emergency.”
Safe marinas must follow industry accepted practices in order to ensure the safety of the public. Safety practices such as annual electrical inspections, employee fire training, fire drills, and the development of a pre-fire plan with the fire department can better prepare a marina’s staff and boat owners for a vessel or dock fire. As the report concluded:
The close proximity of vessels in marinas can cause fires to spread quickly, preventing evacuation. Marina owners should assess their own operations, consult relevant fire safety guidance, and review fire plans in concert with local fire departments. Marina boat owners should familiarize themselves with their marina’s fire plan and review their vessels’ potential fire hazards and firefighting equipment.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in maritime fire and explosion litigation in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives as a result of the negligence of another party, or been seriously injured. The experienced fire and explosion attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of a boat accident or fire. Please contact us online or call 713-659-0257 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.