Wind hurls 50-ft. metal boat house at Tacoma Narrows Marina



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Posted on November 16, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 16 at 7:06 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- At the Tacoma Narrows Marina, workers are cleaning up and assessing damage from Monday night's storm after high winds lift a 50-foot sheet metal boat house and tossed it toward nearby homes.

"This this came flying. It was probably 10-12 feet piece of metal just flying through the air. It came across this way and hit this fence," said homeowner Dave Harkness.

Harkness watched as the storm's strong winds hurled the sheet metal boat house several feet towards his home across from the marina. The boat house took out Harkness's deck and damaged his neighbor's boats and homes.

"I tried to hold that thing back for about an hour, getting nowhere. I got some help from these folks. I called my neighbor and everyone gathered. We tried to do what we could with it but it was very, very scary," said Harkness. "We're still unnerved because it's hooked up underneath the house, into my pilings. I think the tide's coming up. (We're) keeping our fingers crossed and prayers going."

The sound of the wind unnerved many of the residents.

"It's pretty scary though it's come down a substantial amount," said Chris Fernandez, homeowner. "But, the noise was horrific, we couldn't even talk. It was just horrific."

By sunrise, marina crews tried to assess the windstorm's damage by water and land.  No one was hurt, but a lot of debris now fills the water.

"It's a situation that could be a lot worse, but we got to hustle," said a marina worker.

Repairs are needed for crumbled boat houses and separated pieces of dock. Plus, crews have to figure out a way to move the uprooted boat house safely.

The wind and damage was all neighbors could talk about Tuesday.

"I could sure it hear it. It was unusual," said one resident.

"All the windows were shaking really bad. I thought they were going to break," said another resident.

Ron Kinzel, who's lived near the marina for 50 years, gave this advice to his neighbors.

"Mother Nature has her way. She takes over. You just have to get in a safe spot and wait until it's over," said Kinzel.

Marina workers were able to get the boat back into the bay Tuesday afternoon.

Pierce County Emergency Management spokesperson Sheri Badger said one of the damaged boats at the marina was the Pierce County Sheriff's Department patrol boat.