BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Divers recovered two bodies Thursday from sunken debris from a fire that burned boats and a boathouse at a marina in Washington state.
The two have not been officially identified, but police said the families of Jim Langei, 43, and Sterling Taylor, 33, have been notified. The two lived aboard a 42-foot boat that burned and sank in Friday’s fire at the Squalicum Harbor.
They owned the America’s Cup coffee shop near the marina. Police said a 911 call from the boat indicated the two were trapped. Their boat was one of as many as 10 boats destroyed in the fire.
Witnesses reported hearing fuel tank explosions as a black cloud drifted over downtown Bellingham, which is about 80 miles north of Seattle.
The fire was difficult to fight because of its size, and crews didn’t have a fire boat, Fire Department Assistant Chief Roger Christensen said at the time. The city decommissioned an old fire boat last year and didn’t have the money to replace it.
It took nearly a week to recover the bodies because the roof of the boathouse had collapsed on the boats. High winds delayed a barge with a crane needed to remove debris.
Divers started rigging debris for the crane Wednesday and removed the roof debris.
Officials expect the investigation into the cause of the fire and cleanup work will take several weeks.
Officials are unsure how many boats were in the boathouse at the time. They haven’t estimated the property loss in dollars. The vessels were high-end fiberglass pleasure boats about 40 feet in length.
— Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.