Algoma City Administrator Jeff Wiswell announced the temporary closing of the City Marina and Crescent Beach.
Wiswell said the order to close these two popular facilities was necessitated by an overnight fire earlier Thursday morning whenthe Algoma Fire Department, along with the Kewaunee Fire Department, was dispatched to a reported boat fire at the Algoma Marina.Upon arrival, the Algoma Fire Department determined that the fire involved five large sport fishing boats located on two separate docks in the marina.A total of four boats sunk as a result of the fire. No injuries were reported.
The Coast Guard was also on scene to help avoid any possible environmental impact from sinking boats or leaking fuel or oil. Booms were used to stop the possible spread of any pollutants.
“The next step in the recovery process,” according to Wiswell, “is to get the sunken vessels out of the water as quickly and safely as possible, so there is minimal damage to wildlife and the environment.”Boat owner have hired salvage contractors to aid in the cleanup and they are on the scene. Wiswell noted that “One boat has been lifted out the water, and the dive teams and salvage crews expect the other three boats to be out of the water by Saturday.”
“Our marina is one of the most popular marinas along the lakeshore,” Wiswell said. “As we enter into the busy fishing season the City will do everything it can to get the marina opened up, especially since the big fish,including King Salmons, are really starting to bite.” During the meantime small craft can still launch elsewhere along the Ahnapee River, while larger vessels are being diverted over the next few daysto the Kewaunee marina for launching. The two bridges in Algoma have a 10 foot clearance.
Tourism has become an increasingly larger part of the city’s economy over the last several decades with the growth of the sport fishing industry. The sport fishing fleet located in Algoma is still one of the largest on Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes.
On a second front, Wiswell said that “After talking with the DNR, Kewaunee County Health Department and the State Toxicology Department, the City decided to put beach closure flags up as a precautionary move.”
Parks Director Sara Robertson said “The effects of swimming in potentially contaminated water could be a skin irritation much like a sunburn. If we deem the water to be safe tomorrow after checking for the presence of a sheen on the water, then we will remove the red flags and put the green flags back up.”
Police Administrator Dave Cornelius said “Algoma Police and Kewaunee County Deputies will continue to maintain a perimeter around the marina until further notice.”
Administrator Wiswell thanked all first responders, including police, fire and Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Deputies and Emergency Management, DNRandthe U.S. Coast Guard for their timely response.