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Originally published Friday, March 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM

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2 missing after Bellingham marina fire

After a fire destroyed a boathouse and several boats at a Bellingham marina, officials were asking: where are the couple who lived aboard one of the boats?

Associated Press

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SEATTLE —

After a fire destroyed a boathouse and several boats at a Bellingham marina, officials were asking: where are the couple who lived aboard one of the boats?

Their boat sank in the Friday morning fire, and authorities were hoping they spent Thursday night elsewhere.

"We're very concerned," said Fire Department Assistant Chief Roger Christensen.

Divers would check the sunken boat, he said. It's difficult because of the amount of debris in the water.

As many as 10 vessels were in the private boathouse at the Squalicum Harbor marina at the Port of Bellingham when the fire was reported around 5:30 a.m. Flames had spread to several boats when firefighters arrived, and eventually the roof collapsed. No firefighters were injured.

The fire was difficult to fight because of its size and crews didn't have a fire boat, Christensen said. The city decommissioned an old fire boat last year and didn't replace it because of the cost, Christensen said.

"We were unsuccessful in securing funds to replace it," he said. "We could have used it today."

There was no early indication of the cause of the fire or the amount of the property loss. Containment booms were put in the water to contain fuel that had spilled, Christensen said.

Fuel tank explosions could be heard as thick, black plumes of smoke rose from the marina and drifted into Bellingham, The Bellingham Herald reported.

One witness, Mike Allsop, told the Herald most of the vessels were high-end fiberglass pleasure boats about 40 feet in length.

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