View Full Version : Boathouse burned down who is responsible for cleanup?

09-03-2015, 05:57 PM
My next door neighbor's boathouse burned completely down yesterday. It really sucks, they lost two boats and an entire boathouse. That was the extent to their property but we are in a very small house in a very small cove and prevailing winds/currents push everything into our cove and this was right on the edge. Our other neighbor says it is a real mess in our cove.

There are crews there salvaging and cleaning up but how do we know if it is all clean? If not where do we go to get it done properly? How much cleaning is legally required? I am jumping the gun a bit and will go there to see on Friday but want it done quickly.
There is soil, rip rap and a tiny bit of sand that I am worried about. We have a lot of turtles also which may be a good barometer for pollution?

In the second photo we are on the left side of the boom where all the scum is of course. Luckily I trailered the boat last weekend so we can use it but I am guessing nothing is going in or out of there this weekend. It is contained to our cove so it can't get out to the main lake. I have a feeling it is going to be really bad.

The cause was a lightning strike. Funny because that boathouse had two large lightning rods on it. They did a good job of attracting so that part worked.



09-03-2015, 06:07 PM
Check with the city or county code enforcement. Your state ecology department should be involved with the environmental impacts. The oil boom indicates some action is being taken but it is hard to tell if the owner is being directed by an agency.

09-03-2015, 07:00 PM
Is this in VA? I would start with the Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries. There may be some boat code to follow or other agencies to contact. They would know.

When I lived on Lake Erie, the Coast Guard would get involved. Then you would open your wallet for the spilled gas or oil in the water.

09-03-2015, 08:29 PM
That really sucks!

DEC, or some other environmental agency

09-03-2015, 09:07 PM
It is in VA. There is a USCG station on the lake and DEQ is heavily tied into this lake. These are all good suggestions. This guy has more than enough money but I am guessing insurance will pay for the clean up?

09-03-2015, 10:08 PM
That first pic is crazy.

They have materials or a solidifying absorbents that are safe for use on spills of gas/oil from the boats. Those have to used in a specific amount of time after the spill. Booms are used for catching what's on top. Once they get that stuff out of the water, I think they incineration it.

Not sure if a boat house burning would quality to get the big-gun agencies out there. Depends what spilled.

Ash in the water-column is only a short-term problem. Happens all the time with forest fires and rivers/steams out west. Gets dissipated with wind, waves, and current.

Like any other pollutant, they usually sink to the bottom. If that happens at your place, nobody is cleaning anything from there.

Not being negative, the pic with the boom, the water does not look that bad. But you will find out when you get there,

09-04-2015, 08:57 AM
This is a good reminder to check your insurance policies. See what's covered at the lake, including your own liability for clean up. Also look over your boat policy. Does it cover environmental clean up and removal?

09-04-2015, 09:26 AM
Good point on the insurance!!

My wife went to the lake last night and saw things this morning. Turns out not to be too bad. She said there is a bit of stuff floating on the water but no rainbow sheen and little debris made it to our boathouse which was about 200' from the fire. Everything comes into our cove so I am surprised that burning boat didn't Viking funeral pyre down our way.

The DEQ was there yesterday and put some things in the water to absorb junk as well as the booms. At least they are on it. It sounds like it will get cleaned and monitored. The fuel tanks were either nearly empty or they didn't rupture it seems like. Good news is there was not a large amount of environmental impact from petroleum products to the lake it seems. This could have been a lot worse.

Hell of a way to meet your neighbor! He is a very nice guy it sounds like and offered for us to use his property over the weekend for launching and so on since our cove is shut down still. There are several boats and guys in the water now working to get it cleaned up.

So far so good and you can't ask for much more than that.