Fire officials believe John Bruce, 79 and his 69-year-old wife, Emily, were sleeping on their houseboat at Goose Pond Colony Marina when the electrical fire broke out early Monday.
"The fire appeared to start in the main quarters sitting area of the houseboat, igniting a couch," Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus said in a news release. "The majority of the fire damage was confined to this area, with the sleeping areas of the vessel experiencing significant smoke damage. The cause of ignition appears to be electrical in nature, starting from an overloaded power strip."
The couple's dog "Lou" also was killed in the fire.
Fire Chief Gene Necklaus identified the victims as John Phillips Bruce, 79 and Emily Nelson Bruce, 69.
Necklaus said the couple likely was sleeping when the fire broke out. The blaze may have awakened the Bruces, who attempted to escape before being overtaken by the smoke and heat, the chief said. Smoke inhalation is believed to be the cause of their deaths.
No working smoke alarms were found in the boat, which was the Bruces' full-time home.
"The fire department would like to remind everyone of the importance of working smoke alarms wherever they sleep, including boats, campers and RVs," the chief said in the news release.