SENECA — The state's fire marshal office is still investigating the cause of the fire that burned about 15 boats at the Spring Brook Marina near Seneca.
"Until we have a definite cause of fire, we have to assume it's suspicious," La Salle County Sheriff Thomas Templeton said. "At this point in time, we don't have a specific cause of fire."
They currently do not have any persons of interest, he added.
Police authorities finished up on scene at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Templeton said. He could not say if fire officials were still on scene as of late Thursday afternoon. Seneca Fire Department did not return calls by press time.
A Seneca police officer saw the glow of fire while on patrol at about 1:10 a.m. Thursday, Seneca Chief Ray Megland said. When the officer arrived on scene, there were four boats on fire. The marina is located on N2553rd Road, two miles west of Route 170, on the Illinois River.
The boats that caught fire were in winter storage. They were outside, but out of the water on wood beams and shrink wrapped for the winter, Templeton said.
No one was injured in the fire that reportedly took several hours to put out. Assistance in battling the blaze came from Marseilles, Morris, Serena, Naplate, Grand Ridge, Coal City and Mazon fire departments.
According to a press release, Seneca, Marseilles, Morris, Serena and Naplate fire departments were still on the scene as of 5:45 a.m. Grand Ridge, Coal City and Mazon fire departments were released from the scene. Morris sent one engine with four firefighters, Morris Chief Bob Coleman said.
The sheriff's department was called to the scene at about 10:45 a.m. to help with the fire marshal's investigation. The fire marshal was gone by late Thursday afternoon, and planned to be back, Templeton said.
About 200 boats are stored at Spring Brook, some outside and some inside. No one was available at Spring Brook Marina to talk to the press because most of the staff was at the Chicago Boat, RV and Outdoors Show, an employee said.
According to the marina's Facebook page, employee Kyle Stenze was supposed to be talking to MyFoxChicago.com about the marina's new Cruisers Yachts at about 8 a.m. Thursday.
Herald Correspondent Kris Stadalsky contributed to this report.