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Woman, Her 5 Kids Are Among the Dead in Dock Fire

The victims were living on boats in Alabama marina
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 29, 2020 5:29 PM CST
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A diver works in the water as a crane attempts to lift the remains of a burned boat in Scottsboro, Ala., on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, following a dock fire that killed eight people. Sunken in a creek that feeds into the Tennessee River, officials said the craft was one of about 35 that were engulfed in...   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
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(Newser) – A woman and her five children were among the eight people who died in a dock fire at a north Alabama marina, authorities and relatives said, per the AP. Grace Annette Watson Miles, 40, was killed in the blaze early Monday, along with Dezli Nicole Miles, 7; Kesston Damien Miles, 9; Traydon Dominic Miles, 10; Bryli Long, 16; and Christopher Zane Long, 19, Jackson County Emergency Management Director Paul Smith told a news conference Wednesday. Witnesses and relatives said the woman's husband, Joe Miles, was rescued from the water with burns. Miles and others helped the woman and her children get off the flaming dock on to a boat that later caught fire, said survivor Tommy Jones. "There was nothing we could do," Jones said.

Smith said the other two victims included 54-year-old Yancey Roper, whom Jones identified as his brother, and Amanda Garrard Foster, 38. Foster's stepsister, Monica Pascale-Howard, told the the Clarion-Ledger that her father married Foster's mother, giving her a sister she never had. "She was silly," Pascale-Howard said. "She had the most outgoing personality." Authorities said the victims were living in boats at a large dock at Jackson County Park Marina. Investigators are concentrating on a vessel still in the water as a possible cause of the fire, Smith told reporters. Many of the approximately 35 boats that burned were submerged in the water and mostly destroyed, making the salvage effort difficult. "They're salvaging slowly. We're in no hurry," said Smith.

(Read more fire stories.)

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