It has been one month today since an early-morning fire tore through the bayside Vaca Key Marina near mile marker 47.5.
In the four weeks since thousands of lobster traps, a house, boats and forklifts were destroyed on the one-acre property owned by the Berdeal family of Miami on June 5, fishermen at the marina have been busy rebuilding.
Clearing of the many piles of charred wood and concrete began Monday at the marina, said Juan Carlos Berdeal. Marathon business Discount Rock and Sand did the clearing with front-end loaders and dump trucks.
“There was a lot of water involved so a lot of the ground has given in,” he said, adding he is waiting on permits to fix a heavily damaged side seawall on the east side of the marina.
A dozen fishing businesses use the facility, and Berdeal is trying to help those affected get ready for the eight-month lobster season that starts Aug. 6.
He said roughly 6,000 new lobster traps have been built to replace those lost, originally reported around 20,000. Later numbers were closer to 10,000 lost, according to Capt. Dave Dipre with the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“We’re trying to help them as much as possible and get things in order. We need those guys to go out, so we’re going to do anything possible to make it happen for them,” Berdeal said, adding it is realistic that all will be ready to go by August.
What caused the fire, which closed traffic in both directions for hours on U.S. 1, is still under investigation by the state Fire Marshal's Office.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219