'It’s just heartbreaking.' Friends remember victim in Clarksville boat explosion

Cristal Berggren
Posted at 9:14 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 22:42:44-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The city of Clarksville is mourning the loss of a generous soul. Cristal Berggren died Sunday when her house boat caught fire on the Cumberland River over the weekend.

She and her husband Dave were enjoying an afternoon on their houseboat when it burst into flames shortly after they fueled up at the Clarksville Boat Club. Cristal later died at Tennova Healthcare.

Investigators have ruled it accidental but still don’t know what started the fire.

“We’ve lost a firework of a woman, who loved her children, adores her grandchildren,” said Kimberly Wiggins, a friend and fellow member of the Clarksville Rotary Club. “She wanted to make sure that all youth had access.”

Cristal was a retired teacher, current co-owner of Furniture Connection, member of the Clarksville Rotary Club and 2019 graduate of Leadership Clarksville.

Friends say, much like the lines on a mural off of Crossland Ave, Cristal’s generous spirit intersected with so many in Clarksville. “We have a big hole, we really do have a vacuum and we’re going to have to make sure we remember her,” said Carole Dorris, Executive Director of Leadership Clarksville.

The mural may end up being a lasting way to do just that. “They had children come in and help paint all these blocks,” explained Dorris.

Cristal was part of a larger Leadership Clarksville class that came up with the idea, but when money became an obstacle, she stepped up in a big way. “She donated a good bit of money to it and thank goodness,” said Dorris.

“Look at how she made sure we bridged a gap and reached across the community so that we’re all connected. And we all are connected,” said Wiggins.

Cristal’s husband Dave was seriously injured in the explosion but has been released from the hospital, according to family friends.