SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (AP) — A lawsuit filed over a dock fire that killed eight people at a county marina in north Alabama last year contends officials failed to ensure the safety of the structure.
The wrongful death suit names Jackson County commissioners at the time of the blaze; the city of Scottsboro; insurers and others. Fire, electrical and safety codes weren’t followed at Jackson County Park, where the marina was located on a wide creek off the Tennessee River, it claims.
Combustible materials on the dock increased the danger, the suit contends, and officials failed to perform annual inspections, fire response training, fire drills or develop a plan for dealing with a blaze.
The suit was filed Tuesday by the families of two of the fire victims, Amanda Nicole Foster and Yancy Tyler Roper, al.com reported. It seeks an unspecified amount of money to both compensate estates of the dead and punish the plaintiffs.
None of the defendants has filed a response to the lawsuit, court records showed Friday.
Fire broke out a dock early on Jan. 27, 2020, and eight people died as wind blew the flames from one vessel to another. About two dozen people had lived in boats tied to a long wooden dock at the marina, and five children were among the dead.
A federal investigation released in September determined the fire was accidental, most likely starting near the electrical panel of a houseboat called Dixie Delight, and was worsened by what it called “limited safety practices” at the marina.
Fire inspection reports from 2012 and 2016 did not cite any structural problems with the dock., Both reports said the docks were clean, well-kept and had fire extinguishers, but they also noted the presence of items including gasoline containers and grills.