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Multiple vessels, a building, destroyed in Key Largo boat yard fire

Firefighters from the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department, Islamorada Fire rescue and Monroe Fire Rescue respond to a massive boat yard fire in Key Largo Saturday night, Jan. 20.
Firefighters from the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department, Islamorada Fire rescue and Monroe Fire Rescue respond to a massive boat yard fire in Key Largo Saturday night, Jan. 20.

A fire at a Key Largo boat yard destroyed several dry-docked vessels and a building housing offices and a retail store Saturday night.

Firefighters from four departments fought the blaze, which ultimately took more than 250,000 gallons of water to put down, said Capt. David Garrido, with the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department.

No one was injured in the fire, which happened at the Catamaran Boat Yard, located at mile marker 97.9, on the ocean side of U.S. 1. But several dry-docked boats, including a 50-foot catamaran and a 26-foot cuddy cabin, were destroyed, Garrido said.

Key Largo firefighters received the call for the fire at 10:20 p.m. The flames were already out of control, prompting firefighters to initiate a “defensive attack,” where they contain the blaze and stop it from spreading, rather than tackle the source head-on.

“We surrounded the entire area with water to get the fire under control,” Garrido said.

Firefighters with Monroe County Fire-Rescue, Islamorada Fire-Rescue and the Tavernier Volunteer Fire Department joined Key Largo’s department in putting out the flames.

One of the hoses used to fight the fire had to be connected to a source of water across the highway, prompting the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol to close both northbound and southbound lanes of traffice, said Deputy Becky Herrin, media relations officer with the Sheriff’s Office.

Traffic was diverted through parking lots at local businesses, but U.S. 1 was not completely open until 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Herrin said.

The state Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204

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