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Fire inside Safe Harbor Great Lakes Marina building impacts 150 boats, causing 'millions' in damage

All of the boats inside of the marina are thought to have sustained some sort of damage from the fire, smoke or the heat.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Multiple departments responded to reports of a fire at Safe Harbor Great Lakes Marina in Muskegon Monday morning. 

Fire crews arrived at the marina at 11:21 a.m. and found smoke and flames inside the building. No one was reported injured. 

Responders determined that a boat located inside of the building was the source of the fire. It is still unknown at this time what initially started the fire.

Deputy Director of the City of Muskegon Fire Department Jay Paulson provided details as to the extent of the damage caused by the fire.

Fire crews left the scene at around 5:30 p.m. after extinguishing the fire. 

All 150 of the boats stored inside of the marina are thought to have sustained some sort of damage from the fire, smoke or the heat.

The fire began with one 39-foot boat in the building, and is thought to have spread to only three or four boats inside of the building.

"But all the boats inside were affected either by smoke and heat, or both," Paulson says.

Paulson said he didn't have an exact figure, but thought the cost of damage to boats is likely in the millions. 

Some sections of the building were cut open during the fire suppression efforts in order to ventilate the smoke.

Authorities say that bystanders attempted to enter the building, hampering firefighting efforts.

Aid was been requested from Norton Shores, Muskegon Heights, Muskegon Township and North Muskegon. The Coast Guard was also called in to prevent runoff into Muskegon Lake.

A crowd gathered to watch the smoke pour out of the building from the Grand Trunk Boat Launch across the water Monday afternoon. Some were nearby residents, while others were boat owners hoping their favorite summer pastime didn't just go up in flames. 

“[I'm] bummed out my summer is potentially could be on hiatus," said boater Matt George, who has stored his boat at Great Lakes for five years. 

"But then there's silver lining around the cloud. They're insured, I'm insured. So it could be actually a blessing in disguise. It can be a chance for a new boat or free from the burden of a boat," he said.

George just visited the building for the first time in months this past weekend. 

"There's irony because we've left it alone for three months and come to look at it now, and the whole thing is on fire," he laughed.

One nearby resident was watching the fire -- surprisingly, feeling quite lucky. 

“I have to have a boat in building three, where it's burning. But fortunately, I sold it two weeks ago. Good news and bad. The best of times the worst of times," Dave Semelbauer said. "We had fun with it, but we only used it twice last year. So hopefully the next next man that bought it, hope it's not destroyed for him."

Across the street at Ghezzi's Market, an employee says customers have been talking about the fire all day. 

"I know a few of folks that I've spoke to have boats in the marina in the storage unit that caught fire today, so they are definitely concerned," Mackenzie Marshall says. "It's been the talk of Lakeside today for sure." 

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