Two boats were destroyed and a third was damaged in a fire at an Upper Florida Keys marina early Monday morning that investigators are calling “suspicious.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday afternoon that one person was seriously injured in the blaze. It’s unclear if that person was the man a witness told deputies he saw running away in flames from one of the burning boats.
Firefighters were called to the Coral Bay Marina on Upper Matecumbe Key in the Village of Islamorada around 1 a.m., said Chief Terry Abel with Islamorada Fire Rescue.
Firefighters took about two hours to completely knock down the flames, he said.
The boats that caught on fire were in dry dock. The flames claimed a 34-foot Glacier Bay catamaran — a charter fishing boat named the “Double Agent” — and a 50-foot Sea Ray Express Cruiser called “Good Hair Day II,” said Adam Linhardt, sheriff’s office spokesman. A 45-foot twin-hull Corinthian pontoon boat, the “Snorkel Express,” was also damaged, “but not to the extent of the other two,” he added.
The sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal are investigating the blaze, Linhardt said.
The injured man got in touch with the sheriff’s office shortly after 5 a.m. to say he was seriously injured in the marina fire and he was being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with serious injuries, according to Linhardt.
A witness told deputies he heard several loud explosions and looked out his window to see a man on fire running away from the burning boats toward a dark-colored pickup truck, Linhardt said.
Another witness said she heard loud noises. When she looked outside, she said, she saw three men standing near a dark-colored pickup. One man was holding a “fire stick,” which he threw into a boat that was already burning, she told deputies.
A third witness told police she saw two men working on the “Double Agent.” They told her the vessel had electrical problems, Linhardt said.
“The boat was reportedly on fire moments later,” Linhardt said.
This report will be updated as more information becomes available.