|FYI — month 200x|
|By Brad Dunn|
The accidental fire that ravaged the winter storage lot at Kings Cove Marina on the Mississippi River near Hastings, Minnesota, devastated dozens of boat owners. Though no one was injured, the blaze laid waste to boats ranging in size from 28 to 41 feet and caused damages from $15,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the local Star Tribune.
"I feel bad for the owners whose boats are involved," Laura King Spillane, co-owner of the marina, told the paper. "This is their cabin, it's their second home, they live on them all summer long, and they care for them."
As the flames roared and the fiberglass burned, many drivers on a nearby highway reportedly pulled over and watched the destruction. Because firefighters kept people out of the marina until health risks were analyzed, at presstime many owners didn't know if their boats had survived. One of them was Bill Schreiner, the commodore of the Kings Cove Yacht Club, who kept two boats at the marina.
"I'm pretty sure one of them is toast," he told the paper, singling out his 16-foot dinghy Smarty Pants as a likely victim.
Mel Kidney and his fiancée, Peg Rowe, watched the fire and feared they had lost their 41-footer, Yes Dear.
"This was my dream boat, the boat I wanted to retire in," Kidney said. To make matters worse, he remembered that to prevent fuel-tank condensation over the winter, he had filled the boat with 320 gallons of fuel. Between the flammable resins that saturate fiberglass, the tankful of fuel, and the proximity to the blaze, there seemed to be little hope for the cruiser.
Kidney, however, kept perspective: "Life is about people," he told the Star Tribune. "Boats can be replaced."
Indeed, though firefighters had not identified the person they thought accidentally started the fire, Kings Cove Marina said it has insurance that will cover the damages.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.