Houseboats destroyed in Manorhaven marina fire

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Two houseboats were destroyed and a family was left without a home when a fire tore through a marina in the Manorhaven section of Port Washington early Monday morning.

The flames broke out at around 2 a.m. inside a houseboat located at Haven Marina off Matinecock Avenue.

George Martin and Pia Haselbach, owners of the houseboat, say the fire apparently started in a closet that had no electricity, so they're unsure how it started. They woke up to the crackling noise of the fire and escaped safely, but they lost their possessions and their four cats, who are believed to have perished in the fire.

The flames spread to a nearby house boat that was in the process of being rebuilt after sustaining major damage during Superstorm Sandy. The owners had spent a lot of time, money and effort to restore it and were planning on moving in soon, according to neighbors. Four other boats sustained varying levels of damage in the fire, officials say.

It took the Port Washington Fire Department about an hour and a half to get the fire under control. Crews said the narrow, ice-covered docks hampered their operations.

The Nassau fire marshal will investigate the cause of the fire, but it will take some time because the house boat sunk after the fire.

Martin and Haselbach say they are grateful for the donations that have been coming in through their church, the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Port Washington. Just a few hours after the fire, several thousand dollars had already come in.

The church says it is accepting donations to pass along to them.

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