INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (FOX 9) - A devastating houseboat fire along the Mississippi River this week has left a newlywed couple reeling. The blaze at an Inver Grove Heights marina Tuesday night destroyed everything the couple has while they were away, getting married in Mexico.
"We saw it before they put it up here, so we could see inside it. And there's not really anything left," a distraught Craig Lade said while walking around the remains of his 50-foot houseboat that was pulled from the river after the fire.
Lade admits it is hard for some to understand, but the Mississippi is where he and his new wife have built their lives over the last 5 years.
"Yeah, we live on boats year-round in Minnesota. It probably seems crazy, but it's a lifestyle that we love," said Lade.
Lade and his bride are so drawn to marine life, they were in Mexico earlier this week getting married. A portion of that ceremony was held underwater in scuba gear. It is also where their dream nuptials turned into a nightmare. On Tuesday evening, their houseboat exploded in flames. A text message delivered the news in the middle of the celebrations.
Firefighters needed a couple of hours to put out the dockside blaze, but by then it was too late. Nearly everything was destroyed.
"So it was quite an epic moment for us, I didn’t anticipate coming home to this," Lade said while overcome by his emotions. "It’s not how you plan to start your life together."
With nothing left and no insurance timeline available, Lade is so grateful for friends and loved ones providing clothes, a place to stay and raising some desperately needed, emergency funds for him and his new wife.
"Just start from the ground up and build it again," concluded Lade.
An investigation is underway to figure out what caused the fire that heavily damaged, likely destroyed a second vessel in a neighboring dock slip. Lade figures it had something to do with the furnace on board the houseboat.
The only silver lining Lade found, he very much believes the wedding saved their lives. He told FOX 9’s Paul Blume, if he and his wife were home, they likely would not have survived the fire.