2 missing, believed dead after fire destroys part of Bellingham marina

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Two people are missing and believed dead after a fire ripped through a Bellingham marina, destroying boathouses and damaging or destroying 10 boats, authorities told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News and the Associated Press.

The two who are unaccounted for are live-aboards whose boat sunk. Police Sgt. Shawn Aiumu told the AP there was a call from the boat on which the couple lived before it went down. He said divers would try to search the boat, but it's dangerous because of the amount of debris in the water.

Earlier, Assistant Fire Chief Roger Christensen told the AP that officials were checking to see whether the couple stayed elsewhere Thursday night. 

The fire started in Squalicum Harbor around 5:30 a.m. Firefighters responded to a 911 call found a boathouse in flames.

"An unknown number of boats and boathouses have sustained major damage or completely destroyed," the City of Bellingham said in a news release issued shortly before 8 a.m. "The fire has been contained, with fire department personnel remaining on scene to extinguish smoldering fires."

Chopper 7 video showed the fire continuing to burn more than two hours after it started. Video showed collapsed boathouses, and there was charred debris in the water.

An employee at the Port of Bellingham told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News the boathouses typically contain high-end recreational and power boats.

The Coast Guard said a cutter, the Sea Lion, was responding to the fire.

The Bellingham Herald put onto YouTube this video from Douglas G. Thomas, President and CEO of Bellingham Cold Storage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYuNJpKTc6M