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March 7, 2016 Uncategorized

2 Die in Marina Fire

DSCN8035Exactly one week ago a married couple perished on a 43-foot Hatteras when fire broke out at the beginning of the main dock at Dozier’s Port Urbanna and raged outward toward Urbanna Creek.

DSCN8024Buddy Wyker awoke at 4 am Feb. 29 at his home overlooking the creek and captured a photo of the entire Dock B and clubhouse ablaze. The victims were named by State Police as Francis Xavier Blantz, 75, and his wife Julia T. Blantz, 55. “I knew the couple very well and had just seen them recently,” Wyker said.

DSCN8025Around 20 boats were destroyed, two of them sailboats. Wyker said the wind was blowing directly out along the dock and the flames may have trapped the Blantzes. Had the wind been blowing inbound, it might have taken out more buildings. The couple was staying on the boat while their house was under construction.

DSCN8036Wyker grew up on the hill, called Overlook. He said the last big fire was in 1947 or 1948 a hundred yards along the creek. His father was a charter operator on an oyster boat. “He managed to tow seven other boats away from the fire and into the creek, but he burned his hand badly grabbing an anchor that was too hot.”

DSCN8032The ruins of the Port Urbanna fire show some of the metal shed of the long boathouse sticking up from the water, as well remnants of the new floating docks at the end of the pier. It could be weeks before the creek is dredged. The Chesapeake Bay Act precludes rebuilding boat houses because they inhibit the growth of grasses considered vital to the bay. If Dock B is rebuilt, as everyone would hope, it will likely be with floating docks.

A painting of the scene was done years ago by John Barber from the Wyker home atop the hill on Watling Street.

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