Fire Destroys Yachts At Marina

In the early hours of Friday morning, a fire erupts on a boat at the Longview Yacht Club and quickly spread, threatening several dozen craft.  The Mims Volunteer Fire Department responded to the blaze on Big Cypress road on the north shore of Lake O' the Pines.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost, but much more could have been lost.

The owner, who was sleeping inside, narrowly escaped.

"Once they catch fire, they're hard to put out. They quickly jump from boat to boat," said yacht owner Bud Moreland.

The fire quickly engulfed the yacht, spread to one moored next to it, and then to the dock.

"These boats are made out of fiberglass, which is a by-product of petrol-chemicals, not to mention the dacron sails," Moreland said.

Knowing that his boat was lost, the owner then began to un-tie other boats and push them away from the dock.

"Then he started immediately disconnecting other boats and getting them away from the fire," said Moreland.

When fire crews arrived, they began to throw massive amounts of water on the blaze,  but the two yachts has been gutted by fire and sank under the weight of water. Three other boats were damaged,  but luckily no one was injured.

Investigators say the fire could have been caused by an electrical short on the boat. An environmental crew will be on the scene Monday in an attempt to raise the sunken vessels and clean up any possible environmental damage.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.