Fatal fire on houseboat blamed on overloaded powerstrip

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John Phillips Bruce, 79, and Emily Nelson Bruce, 69, died in an early morning fire on their house boat on Monday. Their family dog died as well.

According to the Scottsboro Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, it appeared that the couple was awakened by the fire but unable to escape. The cause of death is believed to be smoke inhalation.

The fire appeared to start in the main quarters when a couch ignited, starting from an overloaded power strip.

No working smoke alarms were found in the house boat.

The Fire Department would like to remind everyone of the importance of working fire alarms anywhere they sleeps, including boats, campers, and RV.

Test these regularly, and have spare batteries available.


UPDATE: 11:09 a.m. – Scottsboro officials have released the names of the couple who died in this morning’s fire. They are John and Emily Bruce.

Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus says the two were killed in an early morning fire aboard a houseboat at Goose Pond Colony harbor in Scottsboro around 4:00 Monday morning.

People aboard a boat docked next to the houseboat smelled smoke and notified the fire department.

The husband and wife aboard the boat and a pet dog died in the blaze, according to Necklaus. 

The fire is not suspicious in nature, but the Fire Marshall has been called in to investigate the cause of the blaze.

WZDX will update this story when more information becomes available.

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