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A double whammy at trap yard

Traps and buoys are scattered around at the Vaca Key Marina by Hurricane Irma. Add to the mix: A storm debris pile.
Traps and buoys are scattered around at the Vaca Key Marina by Hurricane Irma. Add to the mix: A storm debris pile. Keynoter

First, a fire, then a hurricane. What can possibly come next?

Three months after a massive fire at the Vaca Key Marina in Marathon, disaster struck again — this time, Category 4 Hurricane Irma Sept. 9 into 10.

The first round of damage caused by the June 6 fire was devastating to those who lived and work at the marina at mile marker 47.5 bayside. It destroyed three boats, a house, six forklifts and about 10,000 lobster traps that were rebuilt by the dozen or so lobster fishermen who operate out of the marina.

“We will rebuild,” said Juan Carlos Berdeal, son of property owner Carlos Berdeal of Miami, about the $2 million in damage in June.

Round two, Irma, scattered things around, he said.

“A lot of guys lost a lot of gear again. They rebuilt all the traps lost in the fire, so all those traps were lost for a second time,” Berdeal said, adding that a roof on one of the buildings blew off but has already been repaired.

Some of the traps, which were put in the water last month at the start of lobster season, have been found.

“They’re out looking for them and finding them up to five miles from where they were set,” Berdeal said, adding luckily all boats survived the storm. “It’s a mess, but those guys will be alright. They’re very hard working, and they’ll rebuild — again.”

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219

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