Coroner: 4 Jackson County marina fire victims are children

Updated: Jan. 28, 2020 at 1:15 PM CST
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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WAFF) - Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that the death toll in Monday’s marina fire in Scottsboro will not go any higher.

Necklaus and Jackson County EMA Director Paul Smith held a joint media briefing Tuesday morning. Necklaus said there have been no additional bodies recovered in the past 24 hours, and the number of fatalities remains at 8. “That said, we continue extensive and diligent searches of every vessel, every part as we get to it to remain at that number and confirm where we’re at. We don’t want anybody left behind."

Jackson County’s coroner released more information about the victims on Tuesday afternoon. He says that four of the eight bodies have been identified. He also says that four of the victims are children. The ages of those children are: 7, 9, 10, and 16. The coroner also believes a 19-year-old is among the victims.

More below this video:

1-28 Scottsboro morning update

WATCH LIVE: Update from Scottsboro on fatal marina fire >>

Posted by WAFF 48 News on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In terms of the investigation, there is still no conclusive theory on why this happened. Multiple agencies are on the scene, looking at hundreds of potential pieces of evidence that will tell the story of how this tragedy began. The State Fire Marshal is leading the investigation with help from the ATF, Coast Guard and local law enforcement.

EMA Director Paul Smith says the recovery effort is now focusing on debris and preventing environmental contamination from spreading. “ADEM has sampled water three times since yesterday in various portions and the main channel and they will continue to sample water until they’re satisfied that there’s no environmental impact more than has already happened.” Smith told reporters Tuesday morning. Smith says that based on preliminary testing, any contamination appears to be only at nuisance levels, and not dangerous to humans or wild life. Smith says the EPA is on scene and pleased with the way crews have handled contamination so far.

Five vessels have been dragged back to shore and Smith says any boats that contained human remains have been taken from the marina and moved to a secure location.

The Rosemary Creek has been closed due to oil runoff and the Jackson County Park is now closed to prevent onlookers from interfering with the investigation.

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