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Two People Are Killed in Urbanna Marina Fire

I focus on achieving favorable results with dedication & hard-work.- Griffin O'Hanlon

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Two People Are Killed in Urbanna Marina Fire

By John Cooper, Virginia Boating Accident Attorney

Boating accidents are less common than those on the highway but when they do occur they can be dramatic and lead to a major loss of life. Marinas, where combustible substances are often stored, are potentially dangerous places when things go wrong.

Clearly, something went badly wrong at the Dozier Yachting Center Marina in Urbanna, Virginia, where a fire damaged 50 boats according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Two people who lived on boats were killed.

Police said at a press conference that the two people who lost their lives appear to have lived in boats on the marina in Middlesex County. The fire broke out at 4:30 a.m. on Monday.

Major M.E. Sampson with Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office says the fire was called in at 4:30 a.m. The fire was said to be under control by the time press conferences were held later Monday morning.

As many as 50 boats were affected by the fire, and several state agencies and local fire departments responded to the marina — including crews from the York County and Newport News Fire Departments on the Virginia Peninsula. A Hazmat team from Newport News was called to the marina to assist in the investigation. Beth Justice, whose home is near the marina, told a local TV station she called 911 when she saw the flames from her home that overlooks the water. She heard gas tanks explode as the flames spread.

There are a lot of outstanding questions about how this big fire started and whether hazardous materials were properly stored.

More people lose their lives on marinas than we may think and often someone is to blame for sloppy safety procedures.

Recently, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly reported on how the state’s appellate court upheld the award of $1.5 million in a wrongful death case made by a jury in Lincoln County.  No two cases are the same, and we cannot guarantee the result of another case, but a jury ruled a 19-year-old dock worker lost his life when the boat he was fuelling exploded due to improper nozzles installed by a petroleum equipment and servicing company that caused an oil spill.

The 19-year-old was working at Hobbs Westpoint Marina in Denver in North Carolina when an 80-foot long charter boat pulled into the dock to refuel.  The dock worker pulled out a hose for refueling. About six minutes later, a vapor cloud was rose up in “real close proximity” to the fuelling area. David Bland, the attorney for the 19-year-old, said the vapor cloud was ignited by a running generator, causing two explosions.

My thoughts are with the families of those who died in the marina blaze at Urbanna. If you have lost a loved one due to the fault of someone else in a marina accident or another type of boating accident, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyer at (757) 455-0077. See our resources for boating accidents and injuries in Virginia.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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