Australian holidaymakers and their insurers are counting the cost of a spectacular fire that destroyed 10 houseboats on the Murray River at Echuca-Moama on Thursday the 12th Dec. The damage bill is expected to be several million dollars.
The fire started just after 6 pm, the combination of fibreglass, fuel, timber furniture and a gusty breeze made for a disastrous mix. Ten houseboats moored near the Deep Creek boat ramp were ablaze in a very short time.
Many more boat where saved by the quick thinking of onlookers who cut boats free from the marina and let them drift away from the spreading fire.
Investigators have started considering how the fire started, but it seems likely it was an accident.
“It appears to be started from an air-conditioning unit, but there’s going to be a thorough investigation,” said Malcolm Starritt from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
Image shows crews during damping down operations. Photograph kindly supplied by New South Wales Rural Fire Service.