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‘We’ve been blessed,’ boat owner says after Richmond Yacht Basin fire

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Aerial photography offers a bird's-eye view of the devastation following the massive fire at the Richmond Yacht Basinon on Hoke Brady Road in eastern Henrico County.

Tim Gahan lives on his sailboat, which was moored at the Richmond Yacht Basin, said he spotted the fire Friday morning.

"I was tied to an open slip, so it wasn't smokey or anything, but the fire was 20 feet away,” Gahan said.

At that point, he said crews untied his boat.

'[They] hauled me out and put it at anchor right there,” Gahan said.

Kellie Karlis' 1988 Tugboat Trauler was untouched by the flames.

"We didn't know. All we knew is that the marina was on fire and you just figured everything was gone,” Karlis said.

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Amid the devastating fire, more than a dozen boats were destroyed in the blaze.

"Words can't even describe it. It's a marina family,” she said. "We've been blessed -- a lot of us have been blessed."

After being delayed by the fire, Karlis and her husband set sail for Saturday's annual Parade of Lights.

"We got a deadline because our boat doesn't go that fast. It takes about two hours just to get to the starting point. And then, hopefully we don't run into a lot of debris on scene,” Karlis said.

The couple's vessel was decorated in a sea of lights.

"I got a 16-foot Mickey Mouse. I got like five gummy bear floats," Karlis said.

And while an investigation is underway into the marina fire, Karlis is focusing on spreading holiday cheer.

With everything that happened Friday, she is hopeful people will turn out for the parade.

"People come out... The show's got to go on,” she said.

Karlis' boat decked out for the Parade of Lights.

Karlis' boat decked out for the Parade of Lights.

Click here to help the three men who lost almost everything they owned when their boats, which they called home, burned down.