6 yachts damaged after fire erupts at Virginia Key marina

MIAMI (WSVN) - A fire that sparked at a marina in Virginia Key destroyed three luxury yachts and left three others badly damaged.

City of Miami Fire Rescue crews responded to the blaze near the Rusty Pelican, located along the Rickenbacker Causeway, at around 10:45 a.m., Thursday.

Officials said a City of Miami fire boat was out on the water near Key Biscayne doing training exercises when crew members spotted the smoke coming from the marina.

“The crews saw that while they were out drilling, as a matter of fact, on the other side of the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge,” said Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll.

The fire boat responded to the scene and called for backup.

“The most important element was having a fire boat that could pull right up to the fire and extinguish it as quickly as possible, as well as preventing the spread to neighboring or adjacent vessels,” said Carroll.

Six boats ranging from 49 to 60 feet were damaged in the fire. Three were destroyed while the other three sustained extensive heat damage.

7News viewers sent in pictures of smoke billowing into the air taken from miles away.

Carroll said getting those flames under control was no small feat.

“You had about 50 firefighters out here, also with the assistance of a Miami-Dade fire boat that also responded,” he said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames in about 45 minutes.

Miami Fire’s dive team responded to the scene as a precaution.

“You had firefighters battling a fire along the marina. If they were to fall into the water, you need to have a response component there to assist them,” said Carroll.

No injuries were reported, and officials believe the boats were unoccupied when the flames broke out.

Crews sprayed foam over the yachts, and hazmat teams monitored the situation for potential gas leaks.

Miami Fire and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

“[We will] first get in contact with owners to determine when was the last time anybody was on the boat, when there was any work being performed on the boat,” said Carroll.

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