AUSTIN, Texas — Several Austin rowing teams headed to a competition in Oklahoma City have been hit with a major loss after a trailer towing several of their boats caught fire Friday afternoon.
It happened on I-35 west of Ft. Worth as the Texas Crew Club, Texas Rowing Center, and Texas Rowing Club were on their way to the Stars and Stripes Regatta in Oklahoma City.
"The pictures we saw were devastating,” said Nicholas Ray, a fundraising chair for the student-led Texas Crew Club. "It doesn't make any sense, it's kind of a crazy thing to happen."
The teams say a chain dragging beneath the trailer began sparking and ignited a brush fire on the side of the road when the driver pulled over to check it out, causing the trailer and boats to catch fire.
The Texas Rowing Center lost two boats and the Texas Crew Club lost three boats. They say each boat is worth about $40,000 each.
Nichole Goad, President of the Texas Rowing Club, says competing teams at the Stars and Stripes Regatta in Oklahoma City have been generous enough to lend them boats during the competition on Saturday and Sunday.
GoFundMe pages have been set up to help the Texas Crews Club and Texas Rowing Club replace their boats.