DNR: Fire that destroyed boats at Indiana lake was accident

Updated 6/23/2021 9:03 AM

BIRDSEYE, Ind. -- A February fire that destroyed 11 boats at a southern Indiana reservoir and damaged numerous other vessels was most likely started by an electrical malfunction, authorities said.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that an investigation by conservation officers and the State Fire Marshal's Office concluded that the Feb. 19 fire at the Hoosier Hills Marina on Patoka Lake was accidental in nature.


An electrical malfunction was determined to be the most likely cause of the fire, which destroyed 11 boats and damaged another 11, causing an estimated $2.5 million in of damage, the DNR said.

Investigators said marina staff tried to extinguish the fire and successfully moved two boats from the docks, creating a fire break as flames spread.

Patoka Lake is an 8,800-acre reservoir that's home to bald eagle nesting sites and is located about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) northeast of Evansville.

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