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Houseboat burns, sinks

A houseboat fire on Fort Loudoun Lake Friday, Aug. 10, resulted in no injuries — though the structure was destroyed.

“This was a 1972 model houseboat, about 44-feet, I believe it was. The family had actually purchased the boat that day, and I think they bought it down in Tellico and were returning home with it when they experienced an engine fire … out there in the channel by the Concord boat ramps. They used all three fire extinguishers they had on board and were unable to stop the fire,” Larry Wilder, public information officer for Rural Metro fire department, said. “It’s a sad story for the people who bought it that day, but they are thankful that nobody was hurt. I hate it for the people that bought it, but if it had occurred at night or something like that, it could have had a much different turnout.”

When Rural Metro arrived on the scene, the houseboat “was fully engulfed, and it burned down to the water line. It was my understanding that a service came and actually pulled the boat from the water. I think there was about 25 feet of water that it had sunk to, and they pulled it up by the hull,” he said. “Any of the remaining structural parts, I think they were going to try and salvage them. The boat won’t be able to be repaired, so they’ll just sell it off as salvage scrap.”

Wilder added, “For us it was kind of difficult, because it was out in the water, there’s not a whole lot we can do. It was in the water, and it was just a matter of some people using extinguishers on it to no avail. The way it is constructed, there was a heavy fuel load, and of course when you add gasoline from the engine to that, it goes pretty quickly.”

There was little concern about the fire spreading, Wilder said, because, “There were no exposures to any buildings since it was out there in the channel.”

He was unable to release the owner’s name.

“I don’t have any names. … To my understanding, the owners got into another boat and went on down to somewhere else, so we weren’t able to get information on them like I had hoped,” Wilder added.

Though he could not confirm whether or not the family resides in Farragut, Wilder said, “I believe they had just purchased the boat that day, down around Tellico, and they were returning it home, so I’m guessing either they live in Knoxville, or their home port for their boat is here in Knoxville.”


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