DUBOIS CO., Ind. (WFIE) - A massive fire destroyed several houseboats on Patoka Lake on Friday morning.
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officers tell 14 News they were alerted around 9 a.m. Friday at the Hoosier Hills Marina.
At the last count, they say it had spread and destroyed 11 boats and damaged 21 others.
Officials say that number could have been a lot higher.
Corporal Joe Haywood says the owners of the marina rushed to clear other boats from the area to stop the fire from spreading.
“Of course, that fire’s hot, it’s moving, you have some ropes that are frozen, so they had some challenges, but they were able to get some boats pushed out and that allowed them to keep that fire contained to those eleven,” explained Corporal Haywood.
He said the fire was the biggest marina one he had seen in terms of how many boats were affected.
Officials say they’re going to stay on scene and watch for hot spots until fire crews determine it’s safe. The State Fire Marshalls Office will then take over to investigate the cause.
Indiana DNR posted the video below where you can see the flames shooting from several boats.
Dispatch says everyone was able to get out of the boats safely.
Celestine Fire Department Assistant Chief Kurt Summersheim says the bulk of the fire was put out after four hours of work.
A hotspot later erupted just after noon and was quickly fought back down.
Dubois and Schnellville’s fire departments also went on scene to assist in stopping the fire.
Officials say staff from the marina are working to contact the affected boat owners.