‘By the grace of God’: Marina manager returns to work after fire

MONROE, Tenn. (WKRN) – One month after Sunset Marina and Resort caught fire on Dale Hollow Lake, the marina’s general manager is back to work.

Brad Richardson risked his life to save others while suffering third-degree burns in the Aug. 10 fire.

“I’m very thankful, very thankful,” he explained.

‘A miracle no one was killed’: Marina owner counting blessings after fire

Surrounded by water with a view that’s hard to beat, it’s easy to see why Sunset Marina has been Richardson’s home for nearly three decades. He started working at the marina when he was a junior in high school.

“It’s kind of my first home, more than my second. I’m here more than I am at home a lot of times, but I love it. I love Dale Hollow Lake; I love the lake family and my sunset family. They are as much family to me as my real (family),” Richardson said.

Richardson reacted as though his family was in danger on Aug. 10 when a house boat ran into a gas tank on the dock, pushing the boat to safety and quickly shutting off the emergency fuel line, a move that likely saved lives.

WATCH: Marina manager returns to work after fire

“It ignited and exploded with me right there beside of it. All I seen was just kind of the ball of fire. It knocked me backwards and when I rolled over, I must have rolled over and put the fire out. I just looked down and saw that I had my shirt was burnt; my shorts had been burned,” he explained.

Later, Richardson learned 10 to 15% of his body suffered burns, some third-degree, but in the moment, he didn’t stop.

“The adrenaline was going and I just wanted to try and do what I could to save the marina and save as much as I could,” he explained.

‘This place means a lot to a lot of people’: Sunset Marina store, office on Dale Hollow Lake destroyed by fire

Clean up efforts continue where the 10,000 square foot store was destroyed in the fire. The restaurant has remained closed, but with Richardson back on deck, there is a renewed since of energy that echoes the marina’s new motto of “Sunset Strong.”

“I’m so blessed and I’m so thankful for everyone’s prayers. They definitely work. I mean if it weren’t for those, I don’t know if I’d be to this point anyway, and by the grace of God I’m here.”

Richardson praised the public for their support, many of whom donated help, food, and money to a GoFundMe.

Dale Hollow Lake restaurant not reopening until 2024 after marina fire

A vendor also donated shirts that read “Sunset Strong” James 1:12. The owner of the marina, Tom Allen, said the Bible verse couldn’t be more fitting, serving as a sign of their trust in God as they persevere over the months that lie ahead.

Once the destruction is cleaned up, they plan to rebuild the store with hopes of opening by April 1.

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