Firefighter hurt battling sailboat fire in Miami

Sailboat owner jumps into water, attempts to prevent explosion

MIAMI – A firefighter was hurt Friday afternoon while battling a fire that happened on a sailboat off the shore of Watson Island Marina, near the Jungle Island Park, according to Miami Fire Rescue.

The owner told MFR he was the only person on board the sailboat and just started the engine when it sparked a fire. He grabbed two fire extinguishers and attempted to put of the blaze.

After unsuccessful attempts and overwhelmed by the thick black smoke, he quickly grabbed his life vest and some containers of gasoline and jumped into the water. Authorities said he wanted to prevent the containers from causing an explosion that could have spread fire to nearby boats or hurt someone.

MFR dispatchers received numerous 911 calls after 2 p.m. about heavy smoke showing and possibly people in the water.

Firefighters arrived to find a 31-foot anchored sailboat fully engulfed in flames and the owner of the boat in the water. Authorities said the owner was brought out from the water and firefighters began extinguishing the fire.

While battling the blaze, a firefighter suffered an injury to his arm but was able to continue until the fire was knocked down, MFR said. After about 20 minutes, the fire was completely out and firefighters used on-board dewatering pumps to prevent the sailboat from sinking.

Paramedics examined the sailboat's owner and he was released at the scene. The owner was grateful the incident did not affect any other boats and he did not require help from the Red Cross, according to MFR.

Miami Police Marine Patrol, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Coast Guard responded to the scene to help with redirecting boat traffic.

The firefighter was transported to the hospital for treatment to his arm and was expected to be released Friday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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