Nashville man seeks answers after barges damage dock

Posted at 8:31 AM, Apr 16, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's been more than a month since the deadly tornadoes that tore through the mid-state, and as we've seen, there's still a lot to clean up.

A Nashville man says he's been dealing with insurance headaches and issues with a barge company ever since he says one of their barges crashed into his dock.

Bobby Campbell says his wife woke him up the night of the tornadoes in Nashville, but the noise they were hearing wasn't because of the storms.

Outside his home, along the banks of the Cumberland River, Campbell says barges operated by the Hines Furlong company broke loose from their dock around the bend during the storm.

"I was standing out there in my pajamas at one in the morning and was pouring down rain," Campbell said.

Campbell took video showing the damage after several of the barges ran aground, including one that ran into his dock.

Bobby says Hines Furlong did bring some tugboats around trying to control the loose barges, and even added a flotation device on his damaged dock.

"I thought they were going to be nice about this," Campbell said. "But boy, I was wrong there."

Campbell says he has tried filing a claim with his insurance company to fix the $21,000 of damage.

Campbell says he thinks the barge company should pay for the damage, but he hasn't heard from them.

"They won't return my call," Campbell said. "I've called them four times -- two different numbers."

For now, Campbell is left with a daily reminder of the storm that came and went, and the headaches that are still there.

On Thursday, Hines Furlong responded to NewsChannel 5's request for comment. President Kent Furlong said they are currently in the process of reaching out to the affected dock owners and issued this statement:

Hines Furlong Line, Inc. (“HFL”) strongly regrets that the March 3, 2020 tornado(s) resulted in damage, personal injuries, even death, to many in the Nashville area. However, the effects of the devastating tornado, including the breakaway of non-HFL-owned barges from our barge fleeting facility, were not something that we could prevent or control. The tornado directly hit our fleet, causing the barges to tear away and float downstream into the docks of our neighbors. This is evident from adjacent downed and damaged trees, as well as the significant damage found at and around the nearby John Tune Airport. Our shoreside and vessel employees along with their boats did all they could immediately following the tornado and into the following days to keep the barges from causing any additional damages.

The tornado was not HFL’s fault. It was truly an “Act of God” as that term is known in the legal realm. HFL has filed a legal proceeding in the federal court in Nashville, TN and is requesting the federal judge to determine whether we should pay for the damage done by the tornado. For the dock owners that have sustained damage and have notified HFL of such, we will soon provide written information on how to pursue a claim against HFL if they choose to do so. Until the judge rules, which could be quite some time from now, we believe the dock owners should make claims under their own insurance policies for their damages.