After a week that began with a massive dock fire, the Highport Marina is pressing forward with recovery efforts and the daily operations that come with the busy summer season.
The fire, which remains under investigation, burned 17 boats over a period of several hours and sent thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the air. Multiple fire departments and law enforcement agencies responded to the blaze and the resulting mix of debris and chemicals floating in the water prompted a containment responses by the marina, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Only three boats were saved from the burning dock, but no one was seriously injured in the fire.
“It’s been a tough week, but we’re staying positive,” Highport Marina Vice President Christie Bliss said. “Thankfully, we’ve got an excellent staff here, all of whom are doing all that they can to ensure that our members and customers are able to enjoy the lake safely.”
And to ensure that level of promised safety, cleanup crews in inflatable boats motored about the burnt dock on Saturday and checked the booms which separated the contaminated water from the unaffected water.
“With something like this, there are all kinds of hydrocarbons, oils and debris floating around on the surface,” Bliss said. “Then there are the burned boats, which are now, of course, at the bottom of the lake. So there’s a lot involved with the cleanup, but we have an environmental team whose mission is to make certain that all of that stays contained and that that area of the lake is restored to its previous condition.”
Bliss said the constant effort to clean up the dock and surrounding areas has been made easier thanks to the generosity of the public.
“We’ve had so many members, volunteers and just people who heard about the fire come out and offer to help. They’ve brought bottles of water, packed sandwiches. The support has been unbelievable. We’ve got, what I’d say, is the best marine community anyone could ask for.”
In an email release issued Friday, the marina thanked those who responded to the fire and announced a series of summer service specials. Bliss said the specials have been instituted in the past and coincided with the busy summer recreation and tourism season.
“The summer season is our craziest time of year,” Bliss said. “Tourism is huge for us and we want people to know that they can still come out and enjoy the lake and everything we offer.”
The Highport Marina has pledged to provide additional information on the fire and cleanup efforts as it becomes available. With the exception of the U and V boathouses, all of the marina’s docks remain open and operational.