Fire destroys yacht in Cape

38 footer burns as it floats down canal

By ADAM KOVAC, akovac@news-press.com


Cape Coral fire investigators Tuesday were trying to determine the cause of a blaze that turned a 38-foot motor yacht into a hunk of charred fiberglass.

When firefighters arrived at 5353 Coral Ave., flames had engulfed the boat, burned through the mooring lines, and caused the vessel to drift along the edge of a canal, said Capt. Tony Givens of the Cape Coral Fire Department.

A firefighter was able to snag the yacht with a pole, allowing others to douse the 20-foot-high flames with water and foam from a fire boat, Givens said.

“The thing about fiberglass is that it keeps burning unless you foam it,” he said.

The owner of the yacht, who refused to comment, told firefighters he had been working on the vessel earlier Tuesday and discovered it on fire about 4:15 p.m.

The boat carried about 100 gallons of diesel fuel that sent plumes of black smoke pouring along the canal behind Coral Avenue, which is located a few blocks from the Caloosahatchee River, fire Lt. Lenny Nesta said.

“It’s definitely a more difficult fire because you’re dealing with fiberglass and the conditions of the water,” Nesta said. “It’s pretty much a done deal by the time you get here.”

Rescue workers blocked off Coral Avenue for more than an hour while they investigated the fire, which drew dozens of onlookers and sympathetic boat owners to the scene.

“I just bought a new boat and I saw that and thought, ‘Oh wow,’ ” said John Fuhler, 70, who lives around the corner.

Damage to the yacht and boat dock is estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Givens said.

No one was injured.