Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Authorities now say eight people were killed by a large fire that destroyed a number of boats at a northern Alabama marina.
The fire started early Monday at Jackson County Park Marina off the Tennessee River in Scottsboro, Ala., and officials initially said two people died and several were missing. Later, they increased the death toll and said seven additional people were rescued from the water.
Scottsboro is located about 45 miles east of Huntsville and about 25 miles south of the Alabama-Tennessee border.
A salvage crew is expected to sift through debris Tuesday, but officials said they don't expect the toll to climb any higher.
Investigators said the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the federal Environmental Protection Agency will collect water samples to test for chemicals, hoping to identify a cause.
Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus said it may take days to identify the victims. Authorities said 35 boats were destroyed in the fire, mostly houseboats.
"This is absolutely devastating," Necklaus said. "In my experience, [it's] one of the most devastating things I've ever seen."
Those who were rescued are in stable condition after being exposed to flames or the bitterly cold water in the marina, officials said.