MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Fire investigators are trying to determine what sparked a fire at a Coconut Grove marina which engulfed four luxury yachts.
Over three dozen firefighters battled a blaze that damaged four luxury yachts at a marina in Coconut Grove on Saturday.
Officials said it was a second alarm marina fire at the Grove Harbour Marina, located behind the Fresh Market at the 2000 block of South Bayshore Drive. The fire occurred at approximately 6:30 a.m.
According to Ignatius Carroll with Miami Fire Rescue, a security guard noticed the smoke and saw people running from the area.
“A security guard walking the marina noticed a fire coming from the yacht parked at slip 1, pier 1,” Carroll said. “At that time he quickly notified 911 and contacted his superiors.”
Two people suffered minor burns; one of the two was taken to the hospital.
At first, the 65-foot yacht docked at the marina caught on fire. The fire began in the kitchen.
“I saw white smoke from the marina and I called 911,” witness Henry Monosalva said. “As soon as I got here the owner of the first boat woke up everybody inside the first boat, got them out.”
The fire had more damage in store. The blaze then spread to the yacht at the next slip before moving to a third yacht.
Towboat USA cut the ropes to a 75-foot boat, the Splendour, sending it into the bay so as to create space in between the fire and the boats, Carroll said.
As firefighters were battling the blaze, the Miami-Dade Fire Boat from Haulover arrived and assisted in taming the blaze. As they were assisting, the Splendour, which was sent out into the bay then caught fire because of embers. The fire boat then put that fire out.
Firefighters said putting out the yacht fires were extremely tough because they couldn’t access the source of the flames.
“The difficulty we have is that the fire is in compartments inside the yacht and that make it very difficult for the water and foam to reach it,” Carroll said. ‘So we’re at the mercy of the fire until it surfaces or until more damage is done so we can get actual water and foam inside.”
The yachts, which ranged from 65-foot to 88-foot in length, appeared to be completely destroyed.
Black ash and burnt fiberglass are all that’s left.
Nervous boat owners nervous said they’re glad the fire didn’t spread even farther.
“It’s very frightening because we didn’t see anything, didn’t smell anything and we live on the boat on the weekends so it was hard to see that this happened to somebody,” boat owner Barbara Whitehinn said.
As of Saturday evening, firefighters were draining all the boats of fuel so they may be safely removed.
No firefighters were injured.
In addition to the minor injuries, and the beautiful boats burnt to a crisp, this fire could hurt the environment. An unknown amount of diesel fuel and oil leaked into the water. Crews laid out boom to capture most of the leaked fuel and oil and will assess the environmental impact.