FMB boat fire damage estimated at $1.2 million

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.- The investigation continues into what caused two boats to go up in flames early Tuesday morning.

Crews on scene have been able to raise one boat from the bottom of the Gulf.

The fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. at Diversified Yacht Services. The fire marshal says he hopes to have a cause of this fire by Wednesday afternoon.

The work to retrieve the sunken boat from the bottom of the bay took longer than expected. Officials say more floats are being added as a barrier to keep oil and gas from drifting further out into the bay than it already has.

Cell phone video shows how intense the fire that destroyed the two boats was.

“I’ve never seen a boat that has burned like that, or just the devastation, so it’s just shocking to me,” said Tina Wheeler.

Tim and Tina Wheeler’s 30-foot Tiara sunk to the bottom of the bay, after it caught on fire.

“It’s the phone call nobody wants to get, you know, our boat’s been on fire and can you go check it out,” said Tim Wheeler.

When the Wheeler’s showed up to the docks, they couldn’t believe the aftermath from the blaze.

“It was making its way down to Marathon and just stopped here for a few things, and now here it is, sitting on the bottom of the marina. It’s just very sad,” said Tim Wheeler. “This is just heartbreaking to see, we were just on the boat on Saturday.”

The fire spread to a 59-foot yacht that was docked nearby.

Dawn Hunt works next door at Bonita Bills, she described the scene as horrifying.

“Just a large, huge ball of fire. A couple small explosions, small booms, a lot of smoke, it was very early but it was very scary, very scary,” said Hunt.

WINK News was there as Sea Tow floated the sunken boat to the water’s surface. A yellow float was used to trap any fuel that leaked out. People nearby say there was boat pieces scattered on the docks.

Both boats are a complete loss. The damage is estimated to be around $1.2 million.

Author: Megan Contreras
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