Trailer fire devastates two Austin rowing clubs

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A trailer went up in flames on Interstate 35 on Friday … and connected to it were five top-of-the-line row boats valued at $200,000.

The boats belonged to the non-profit Austin Rowing Club and the Texas Crew, a UT-Austin student rowing club, whose members were on their way to Oklahoma City for the Stars and Stripes Regatta.

The groups say the trailer was traveling northbound near Fort Worth when sparks from a chain may have caused the trailer to catch fire.

The driver was able to unhook the trailer, so no one was hurt.

But, the blaze destroyed the boats, oars and cut into their trip.  

Rowers from across the country stepped in, donating equipment so the rowers could compete in the regatta.

But, the Austin Rowing Club says it has more races coming up and needs to replace those boats fast.

“Having six boats of our fleet taken completely out of the equation for the summer, at a time when we’re teaching new people how to row and we have summer camps — it creates a huge difficulty for us to run our programs,” said Brenda Walk, vice president of the Austin Rowing Club.

There are gofundme pages for both the Austin Rowing Club and the Texas Crew to help with replacement boats. So far, Austin Rowing has raised more than $12,000 and Texas Crew has raised more than $14,000.

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