Luxury yacht destroyed in fire at Fort Lauderdale marina

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Crews were able to quickly put out a massive fire that destroyed a luxury yacht docked at a Fort Lauderdale marina.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded to the Marina Mile Yachting Center, located at 2200 Marina Bay Drive, off State Road 84, at around 11 a.m., Friday.

7Skyforce HD flew over the scene where several firefighters could be seen working to put out the flames.

Officials said someone at the marina alerted workers aboard the 70-foot Sunseeker Manhattan that caught fire.

“They were evacuated by a neighboring boat, a neighboring operator,” said FLFR Battalion Chief Garrett Pingol.

The workers were all able to escape without injuries.

Witnesses said heavy gray smoke could be seen as far away as Interstate 95.

“Well, I saw it when I was staying in Fort Lauderdale. I saw the smoke,” said Don Govan with Govan Marine Company.

“You could see flames shooting over the interstate, so I guess that’s about 100 feet or so,” said another witness.

“The flames are whisking up next to it, so it was impressive, if nothing else,” said Mike Firebaugh.

Rescue officials were able to capture a video of the Sunseeker completely engulfed in fire.

Firebaugh, a diver working on a nearby seawall at the time of the blaze, said he surfaced to see the yacht consumed by flames.

“It was a massive pillar of smoke. I mean, this thing was going well up over the interstate. All the cars were stopping on the interstate,” he said.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers had to be called to keep traffic moving along I-95.

Cellphone video recorded by the witness captured a closer look at the inferno.

“Crazy. I don’t even know how they’ll put that out with the fire hose,” said the witness. “The flames are so — I’ve never seen such a massive fire in my entire life. The flames are exploding.”

It took firefighters about a half hour to put out the flames. Two of them were sent to the hospital with heat-related injuries.

Because the yacht was dry docked, officials said, crews had to cut into the vessel to make sure the water would drain out in order to keep it from losing stability, as well as keep the flames from spreading to other boats.

Vessels adjacent to the yacht suffered minor damage.

“Everybody thinks it’s luxurious, it’s glamorous, but things can happen in a heartbeat,” said Govan. “Thank God nobody got hurt.”

As for the yacht’s owner, it remains unknown whether or not they are aware of the fire and are likely out of the country.

Officials said one of the injured firefighters will likely be kept at the hospital overnight for observation.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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