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Boathouse Fire Destroys 40 Boats, Causes Hundreds Of Thousands In Damage

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A fire at a Robinson Township boathouse destroyed 40 boats, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of damage.

The fire started Saturday night at the Groveton Boat Club along the Ohio river, on Royal Avenue.

Officials say the boathouse housed 40 boats valued at $10,000 to $30,000 apiece. They were used for crew teams with North Allegheny High School, Pine-Richland High School and the Pittsburgh Rowing Club.

The boats were used for at least 60 high school students. Their teams are considered clubs, so they receive minimal support from the school districts.

"This is an utter devastation to our program," said North Allegheny Coach Jordan Herbert. "We have to start from literally the bottom up."

Now only charred remains stand where the boathouse once was. The boats, building, oars and other equipment were all lost in the fire.

"Right now we have no boats to go in the water, it is a huge, monumental loss," said Ellen Fowkes, President of the Pine-Richland Crew Booster Association.

Officials still aren't sure of the cause, but say it appears someone broke into a shed that housed propane.

The investigation continues.

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