SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) - The owner of Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley says that they hope to be open again in a few days, even after a Friday morning fire heavily damaged their main building.
Flames and heavy, thick smoke could be coming out of the main warehouse-style building and the attached Dockside Restaurant.
Ed Pelc, who owns a houseboat docked at the marina, told 22News what he saw after the fire started around 6:30 A.M.
"It looked like a little smoke, and then all of a sudden it just blew up black and then burst into flames," he said.
South Hadley District 1 Fire Captain Brian McClaffin told 22News that nobody was inside the Alvord Street building when the fire started in the kitchen, and then spread.
Firefighters from nearby communities like Easthampton and Holyoke had to be called-in to help, and firefighters tried to move items from the garage before that part of the building became engulfed in flames.
None of the boats on the river were destroyed, and they were able to move most of the boats out of the showroom before the fire could get to them.
More than an hour after the fire began, smoke was still bellowing from the building, but after 9:00, things had gotten under control enough for firefighters to begin going inside. They had been fighting the fire from the outside; both on the ground, and using ladder trucks to spray water down from above.
McClaffin said that the fire was particularly difficult to put out because there are so many different sections to the building.
"It's a building with multiple buildings in the building; a lot of additions, so there's a lot of areas we can't get to, and the fire was pretty hot when we got here," McClaffin said.
Check out the videos to see the effort to put out this major fire, and click on the 'Map" tab for a closer look at the location of Brunelle's Marina.
Marina owner Luke Brunelle, Jr. told 22News that even after this fire, they are optimistic that they will be back in business very soon. He said that in the next few days, they may bring in a tent and temporarily run the business from there.
Capt. McClaffin said that it is unclear at this time just what started the fire, the State Fire Marshal's Office is now looking into the cause.