When I heard a report of a fire at Brunelle’s Marina in my hometown of South Hadley Friday morning, I figured I’d find a burning boat on the water, with the marina used as a landmark.
Last summer a mechanical malfunction left a boat on the river completely engulfed in flames, its occupants fortunately able to swim to safety.
Driving to an emergency scene, though, all sorts of scenarios race through your head, and when I found a detour set up on Alvord Street more than a mile from the scene I knew the incident was significant.
The fire turned out to be a five-alarm affair that destroyed the marina’s landmark Dockside Restaurant, its service center garages, and damaged its showroom. Firefighters worked in steady rain and extremely heavy smoke:
Brunelle’s Marina is a family owned business that’s been in operation since 1959. Owner Luke Brunelle Jr., pictured below with his wife Kathy in their race to move boats and trailers away from the burning buildings, told me he’s determined to rebuild.