May 20, 2024
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by: Stephanie Langston
Tom Allen, co-owner of Marina, recounts the horrifying turn of events while employees cleaned up after the fire.

Tom said, “I turned around 180 degrees and saw the biggest fireball I have ever seen.”

Sunset Marina office and store on Dale Hollow Lake is destroyed by fire, an area that has a special meaning to many.

The houseboat hit the dock and caused a black plume to rise 50 feet over the roof.

As our restaurant and marina store were packed, I expected fatalities or bodies to be found in the water. Allen stated that it’s amazing no one died.

Brad Richardson was transported to hospital after smoke inhalation and suffered burns of the second degree.

When I arrived, his shirt had been burned away. He’d put out the fire before I even got there. The fire was put out by him rolling the deck, and he had the foresight to shut down the emergency shutdown button before the explosion. Allen stated that if the emergency shut off button had not been there, it would have caused a much more serious fire and explosion. The deaths could also have been worse.

Allen admitted that the tragedy made him feel emotional but he also said it humbled him.

Brad is in good spirits, and wants to get back to work. He has suffered some serious burns. He’ll be back to work. “He’s almost been with us since the very beginning, 30 years ago. He’s a member of our family.” Allen began to lose his voice.

On Wednesday, Allen and Richardson are counting their many blessings as a large part of the business they run is in ashes.

God was looking out for us. The firefighters did a great job putting out the fire, but it’s even more amazing that nobody was hurt. Allen said that the fact our local firefighters stood at the goal line right on the 50-yard line, despite the large, hot fire in front of them, is a testimony to their bravery.

He stated that they were working on restoring power and fuel to the restaurant. The restaurant was saved by the firefighters’ heroic efforts. The decision on whether or not the restaurant will open again will be taken next week, he said.

I think that the main thing for us to do right now is pray. God watches over us. Allen expressed his gratitude for your prayers. We just need to pray for the next few days or weeks until we are able to develop a plan of rebuilding. “We’ve had everything taken care of.

Richardson’s recovery was helped by a customer who set up a GoFundMe page. Allen stated that the generosity shown by the community was overwhelming.

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