Questions remain day after deadly fire at Scottsboro boat dock

We’re working to gather more information about the fire that killed eight people.

Posted: Jan 28, 2020 8:58 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 3:55 PM

Crews are heading back to Jackson County Park on Tuesday to comb through the wreckage left behind by a deadly fire at Dock B. Eight people were killed in that fire and 35 boats were destroyed.

Four of the eight people who died were children, according to the Jackson County coroner. The ages of the children are 7, 9, 10, and 16. There also is a 19-year-old sibling.

At least one of the victims was a drowning victim. The bodies are significantly damaged, and dental records and DNA may be needed to make identifications.

On Monday, the Southern Marine Towing and Salvage Group pulled a fifth boat from the dock before calling it a day. Right now, there are at least 30 boats to recover in the water.

Rescue crews will comb through the debris over the next few days, looking for any other bodies or destroyed boats. Four boats drifted away and sank into the water after the fire. The U.S. Coast Guard recommended officials recover those first on Tuesday.

The Scottsboro fire chief, Gene Necklaus, says crews are focusing on one boat in particular that may have been the origin of the fire, but they haven’t ruled out other boats yet. He says there were initial reports that the fire originated on this boat. It is now in a secure location.

Necklaus says there were about 21 to 22 permanent residents at the dock. When fire crews arrived, they noticed the fire appeared closer to the shore and it then spread. He says most of the bodies were found in boats.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management has sampled the water three times since Monday, and it will continue to for the rest of the week until it’s determined there’s no more environmental impact. Right now, there’s no timeline for the chemical test results. 

Things like batteries, sewage and gas are all in the water but are currently contained. People are asked to avoid the water in the meantime.

Firefighters were first called to the scene about 12:40 a.m. Monday. They found the boat dock engulfed in flames. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office tells WAAY 31 Scottsboro police were responding to a nearby business, and the owner is a rescue squad member.

Authorities say 17 different agencies helped at the scene, including the Morgan County Dive Squad, Scottsboro Fire and police, the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency and Alabama State Troopers.

The sheriff's office says the death toll could have been higher if not for the fast response time from these agencies.

We still don't know the identities of the victims as families are being notified. A vigil was held for them Monday night by Faith Covenant Church of God in Scottsboro.

A relief fund has been set up at a local bank. People can go to any F.N.B. Bank location to donate. They can reference the "Jackson County Park Disaster Relief Fund.”

The bank is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We’ll continue to follow this story. Stay with WAAY 31 on air and online for updates.

MORE COVERAGE YOU CAN COUNT ON

Huntsville
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 92°
Florence
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 96°
Fayetteville
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 88°
Decatur
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 93°
Scottsboro
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6219167
Mobile4625138
Montgomery4397111
Tuscaloosa258652
Madison19839
Marshall190411
Shelby155724
Lee153537
Morgan12415
Baldwin117011
Walker105631
Elmore100721
Dallas9789
Franklin92816
Etowah91914
DeKalb8647
Russell6650
Chambers66427
Autauga66214
Butler64529
Tallapoosa62569
Unassigned61627
Limestone5963
Houston5616
Lauderdale5556
Cullman5546
St. Clair4842
Colbert4816
Lowndes48022
Escambia4688
Pike4675
Calhoun4565
Coffee4164
Covington40312
Jackson4022
Barbour3772
Bullock37610
Dale3721
Talladega3677
Hale34323
Marengo34211
Clarke3036
Wilcox2998
Chilton2952
Winston2925
Sumter28713
Blount2811
Marion26714
Pickens2626
Monroe2553
Randolph2489
Conecuh2278
Perry2242
Bibb2151
Macon2129
Choctaw20912
Greene1929
Henry1463
Washington1367
Crenshaw1263
Lawrence1210
Cherokee1157
Geneva950
Lamar871
Clay822
Fayette811
Coosa631
Cleburne421
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 59546

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby13113219
Davidson12935142
Rutherford342839
Hamilton319637
Sumner187456
Williamson167016
Knox15069
Trousdale15065
Out of TN139710
Wilson113017
Putnam10027
Unassigned9362
Bradley9254
Robertson90113
Sevier8843
Montgomery7127
Lake6960
Tipton6926
Bledsoe6271
Bedford5989
Macon5686
Hamblen4474
Maury4313
Hardeman4004
Fayette3573
Madison3472
Loudon3201
Blount3063
Rhea3030
Dyer2803
McMinn27018
Cheatham2643
Dickson2510
Washington2350
Lawrence2276
Cumberland2004
Anderson1892
Sullivan1892
Lauderdale1754
Gibson1661
Jefferson1641
Monroe1526
Smith1482
Greene1382
Coffee1370
Cocke1300
Hardin1257
Warren1200
Obion1182
Haywood1132
Franklin1103
Wayne1100
Marshall1082
Hickman1010
McNairy1001
Marion914
Giles891
Carter871
Lincoln840
Hawkins832
DeKalb820
White813
Roane800
Overton701
Weakley691
Claiborne680
Campbell671
Grundy652
Henderson650
Chester590
Unicoi560
Grainger550
Polk550
Carroll521
Henry500
Crockett493
Cannon460
Jackson460
Johnson450
Sequatchie450
Humphreys392
Meigs370
Perry370
Morgan301
Decatur280
Fentress270
Stewart270
Scott260
Union220
Houston200
Clay180
Moore170
Benton151
Hancock110
Lewis100
Van Buren90
Pickett70

 

 

Community Events