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A marina in Scottsboro, Alabama, about 45 miles east of Huntsville, was the scene of a horrific tragedy early Monday morning, as eight people – including four children – died when a boat dock became engulfed in flames.

Officials said there aren’t any people listed as unaccounted for, although additional victims could be located as debris from the site is removed. In addition, Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus said it could take several days to confirm the identities of the victims, determine what caused the fire, and clean up the debris.

“In my experience, (it’s) one of the most devastating things I’ve ever seen,” Necklaus said.

On Tuesday, Jackson County coroner John Jordan confirmed that four of the eight victims were children ranging in age from 7 to 16.

Scottsboro marina fire:
Seven pulled from water

The blaze broke out early Monday morning at a Jackson County Park marina that houses boats, houseboats and pontoon vessels, some for recreation and others that served as homes. The cause of the blaze is unknown and being investigated by numerous agencies, including the Alabama Fire Marshal, Scottsboro fire investigators and police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The fire sent people leaping into the river; seven people were rescued from the water and hospitalized for treatment. Necklaus said they weren’t seriously injured, and most were suffering symptoms of hypothermia because of the cold water.

At least 35 vessels burned and were completely destroyed. Some boats sank at the dock; others drifted from their moorings and sank. Necklaus said the fire broke out on the inland side of the dock, making rescue efforts difficult.

Scottsboro marina fire: 8 are dead in Alabama tragedy

Eight people – including four children – died early Monday morning in a Scottsboro marina fire, about 45 miles east of Huntsville, Alabama. About three dozen boats were destroyed in the blaze.

Scottsboro marina fire:
Propane, gas tanks fuel fire

Julie Jackson said she has lived in a boat at the marina with her husband and child for five years. Their boat is moored at a dock opposite the dock that was destroyed.

After the fire started, Jackson said her family awoke to a crackling sound. By the time she got off to look, the fire had engulfed half of the dock.

“I could hear people screaming, ‘Help me,’ ” Jackson told The Gadsden Times. “I never want to go through anything like that again.”

Mandy Durham told the Associated Press she and her boyfriend awoke to popping sounds and screams.

“We could see red through the window,” she said. “Within 15 to 20 minutes, the whole dock was in flames. All these boats have propane tanks and gas tanks, and that’s a lot of fire.

“There were families there. It’s devastating.”

Durham said she saw people leap into the water after a boat ignited at the end of the dock. “Water was the only place they had to go,” she said.

Scottsboro marina fire:
What comes next

Jackson County Emergency Management Agency director Paul Smith said it could take weeks to complete the investigation because of all the debris that needs to be cleared from the area.

“There’s nothing easy about it. You’re dealing with fire and fire unfortunately destroys evidence. It takes quite a bit more time to piece everything back together,” Smith said.

Necklaus said it could take up to six months to confirm some of the identities of the deceased.

AP reported that the smell of gasoline was strong, and scorched propane tanks were floating in an oily sheen on the water. Floating barriers contained much of the pollution as crews worked through the wreckage.

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