By Devoun Cetoute
More than 60 Broward firefighters spent about four hours early Saturday morning battling two luxury yacht fires that caused nearly $20 million in damage.
At around 4:30 a.m., Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue rushed to Universal Marine Center.
When firefighters arrived, the boats were completely engulfed and smoke could be seen for miles. Firefighters boarded boats, which were parked on the canal, and began attacking the fire.
As Fort Lauderdale firefighters fought the flames, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue was called in as backup.
Firefighters were able to put out the larger flames, but the fire is still at a smoldering state — meaning that firefighters will continue to work the scene until tomorrow and put out any hotpots, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue said.
One of the ships was about 160 feet long, the other being around 100 feet long. Both were undergoing renovations when they caught fire. The official cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Firefighters estimate the damage to be around $20 million — one ship is worth between $16 million and $18 million, while the other is worth between $2 million and $4 million.
With help from the Environmental Protection Agency, authorities are monitoring and have put in place measures to combat any contaminants that may pour into the canal, like diesel.
Universal Marine Center’s general manager Laurent Bensoussan and Bernard Calot told The Triton, a nautical news source, that the marine center had its regular fire maintenance two weeks ago.
The paint jobs on the ships were almost finished, as well as teak and interior work, Calot told The Triton. One of the ships was ready to leave the yard in 10-12 days and the other in about three weeks.
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