61ºF

Fire breaks out on 2 multimillion-dollar yachts in Fort Lauderdale

Both yachts are a loss, fire still burns over 24 hours later

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The smoke was visible from miles away.

Firefighters worked diligently and were still pouring water on a yacht fire hours after it started.

Fire rescue said the fire was deep-seated and difficult to get to and that, despite the fact that the boat is located next to a canal, there was also a shortage of water.

Cellphone video showed flames raging out of control and huge plumes of smoke billowing into the air after the yacht fire at Universal Marine Center on Southwest 25th Terrace in Fort Lauderdale.

Arlene Meyer says she and her husband called 911 around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

"I heard about three big explosions," she said. "I was just so amazed that it went up in flames in one day."

Hours after dawn, firefighters used ladder trucks to control the flames.

Fire rescue personnel believe the fire started on one yacht and then the wind caused it to spread to a second one.

"The first vessel, in neither order makes sense which one's on fire, but they were both on fire, due to the wind," said Jeffrey Lucas with Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. "The boat's worth about $8 million. It was on fire. And then the second boat, right next to it, it's worth about $12 (million) to $16 million, we're being told."

Fire rescue said one of the yachts was undergoing renovations. They are investigating whether that had anything to do with the fire. 

The cause of the blaze is still unknown. There were no injuries as a result of the fire.

As of Sunday morning, firefighters were still working to extinguish the flames. 

According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, firefighters haven't been able to get close enough to put out the fire due to the risk of a scaffolding collapse. 

The scaffolding was in place for renovations to one of the yachts. 

A crane has been moved into place to remove the scaffolding, after which firefighters will move in and put out the fire for good. 

Both yachts are a total loss, according to rescue officials.


About the Author: