400 gallons of oil pulled from Charlotte County marina after fire, more pollution remains

Published: July 25, 2022 3:32 PM EDT
Updated: July 25, 2022 10:38 PM EDT

The U.S Coast Guard has pulled 400 gallons of oil from the water at the Riviera Marina in Charlotte County after several boats caught fire on Friday.

Investigators say as many as nine boats were engulfed in flames.

Right now, the Coast Guard’s goal is to try and get as much oil and gas out of the water as possible.

Now we have a 911 call from those trying desperately to get help during the ordeal.

Caller: “It’s blowing fast! We need somebody here fast.”

911 operator: “We’re going to get help out to you, okay?”

911 operator: “Is there anyone on the boat?”

Caller: “No”

It’s these 911 calls that take us to the moments the fire broke out.

Caller: “Unplug … hey … Kenny! Unplug his boat unplug it. It’s about to catch some other boats. I hope you got these guys coming.”

911 operator: “Is there fuel on the boat???”

Caller: “I don’t know! Get the f*cking fire department here!”

According to Charlotte County, nearly 10 boats were damaged or destroyed.

911 operator: “How big is the boat?”

Caller: “It’s a 45-footer and now it’s catching another one on fire.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but what happened is bad enough that U.S. Coast Guard is making sure everything is done to protect the ecosystem.

“Our main concern is addressing the pollution that’s here now and getting as much of it out as we can safely and quickly as possible with minimal impact to the wildlife and property,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Ayla Hudson.

Underneath all of the damaged boats, hundreds of gallons of oil and gas are polluting the water off of Riviera Marina.

“They have pooled 400 gallons of an oily water mixture from the area and 300 pounds of absorbent boom. From this weekend,” said Hudson.

Fire and thick black smoke forced firefighters to do whatever they had to put the flames out. Now, they are just beginning to make a dent in the cleanup effort.

“There are a number of people involved in this,” said Hudson.

Aftermath of Riviera Marina boat fire. (Credit: US Coast Guard)

The questions still remain as to what led to all of this fire and destruction, when the boats will be physically brought out of the water, and who’s responsible for allowing the boats to be docked so close to each other.

One Charlotte County commissioner told WINK News that code enforcement had issued violations to the Riviera Marina before for boats being docked too close to each other.