By Carol Mills
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
An explosion Friday morning on a houseboat at Holly Bay marina in Laurel River Lake caused a fire that spread to two other houseboats docked next to it.
The three houseboats were on the backside of the other houseboats, and apparently there was a pontoon boat between the ones that burned and those that did not, which kept all the others from catching fire.
One of the houseboats was owned by Brian and Jane O’Connell of Lexington.
“The manager of the marina called me at 6 o’clock and told me there had been a explosion and that my houseboat was on fire,” Brian O’Connell said. “We came down at 7. We don’t know how it started. We don’t know much.”
Marina manager Randy Lawson said the three burning boats were towed away from the area and secluded near the shoreline so other houseboats would not catch fire.
Public Safety Director Abby Hale placed container booms around the boats to keep gas and oil from spreading into the lake.
Hale was called to the scene because arson was suspected.
“They’ve got the KSP arson investigator down there,” Hale said. “They’re just checking, but it is suspected and until they get the boats out they’re not going to know.”
Hale said the investigation cannot be completed until the remainder of the houseboats are pulled out of the lake with a crane. The marina will have to do that, he said.
Lawson did not release the names of the owners of the damaged houseboats.
Assisting at the scene were the EPA, KSP arson investigator, U.S. Forest Service, Laurel County Public Safety, and Lily Volunteer Fire Department.