Owner of Sundance Marina: 'It's just so hard to look at, it's s - KPTV - FOX 12

Owner of Sundance Marina: 'It's just so hard to look at, it's such a tragedy'

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Months after a massive fire destroyed the Sundance Marina, the owner of the business is struggling to comprehend the loss of his family business. (KPTV) Months after a massive fire destroyed the Sundance Marina, the owner of the business is struggling to comprehend the loss of his family business. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

He watched his livelihood burn to the ground in a devastating four-alarm fire months ago, and now the owner of the Sundance Marina is opening up for the first time about what happened the night he lost hundreds of boats, millions of dollars and a family dream. 

So much of what he had is gone that it is hard for Rick Buck to even stand in what used to be his family's marina.

"I try not to come out too much, because when I do, it just blows my mind," he said. "I started here at the age of 19, so it was 1972. It's just so hard to look at, it's such a tragedy."

What's left of his roof twists in the wind broken and mangled, a fragmented shell that now surrounds a boat graveyard.

"Everything is a total loss, and in many cases, you can see there's just a pile of engines," Buck said. "The whole boat is vaporized and gone and it's just the steel and the engine sitting there."

Buck remembers the February night he lost it all, though he didn't want to believe it at first.

"I got here and I didn't see anything at first, but then I got out of the car and realized there was this horrible smell and I could see black smoke coming out of the roof, from then it just got worse," he recalled.

Some 350 boats were stored in his 72,000 square foot warehouse at the time. It was a building ripe for fire, filled with fuel and fiberglass. 

"It was really the scariest thing I ever saw, the sheeting on the side turned red hot and started fluttering, it was so dramatic to watch," Buck said.

There was little that survived the fire, and his own father's boat was no exception.

"All of these nice boats are gone, all of the owners lost their boats, our employees all their jobs, this has been a hard situation for anyone involved," Buck explained. 

RELATED STORY: Massive fire at Portland boat storage facility causes $24 million in damage

For the marina owner, it is what withstood the heat that is almost impossible to believe.

"The things you come across, you almost can't believe," Buck said. "There was a football laying in there and the guys on break would play with it, and it's still full of air, it's still good."

Buck said he is doing his best to continue business, even after all that happened. He said that he's grateful for the fire crews who worked tirelessly to save what they could, including records and files from his office. 

"We're still here, we're still doing service and sales and we have wet moorage still," he explained.

The marina has hired security to watch over the mounds of metal at night, Buck is waiting on a permit to be able to clear out what's left of his family dream, a dream he one day hopes to rebuild.

"This has been my whole career, it's my life," he said. "It's a lot to go through, and we're trying to sort it all out.”

Buck told FOX 12 he's hopeful to begin clearing out the marina in the next week or so.

Investigators with Portland Fire and Rescue say the cause of the fire remains undetermined.

RELATED STORY: Fire that destroyed Portland boat storage facility not believed to be arson

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