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Fire Destroys Multi-Million Dollar Yachts In Ft. Lauderdale

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The sun was barely up, when smoke began to rise over I-95 in Fort Lauderdale. Fire raged inside two multi-million dollar yachts around 6:45 a.m. on Sunday.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews had to work quickly to keep the fire from spreading to over yachts docked at the marina.

"First thing they did, there were several other vessels tied to those boats. They broke those off so the fire didn't spread to those vessels," said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Heiser.

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Ft. Laud Boat Fire
(Source: Ft. Lauderdale Fire Dept)

Jeremy Lycke was on his boat when he saw the large plume of smoke. It was first gray, then got dark and blacker over Yacht Management Marina off State Road 84.

"I look and I saw smoke billowing out from the marina over here right across the bridge," he said.

He called 911 and rushed to the marina.

"If it was my boat, I'd want someone to it. If they didn't, it would make me highly upset," he said.

Upset could be an understatement, because the boats that caught fire are estimated to be worth several million dollars each.

The fire department said one of the yachts is a 75-footer. The smaller one is between 50 and 60 feet long. A marina employee said the smaller boat was going to be sold soon.

Yeah, the boat show is the second week of February in Miami Beach right now. I don't think the boat can make it this time," the marina employee said.

While the exact amount of damage to the vessels is unknown, the owners will be lucky if they can salvage anything.

"One looks like a complete loss. It's just an inferno over there," said Lycke.

Even after fire crews drenched the boats with water, fire kept burning below deck.

Fire fighters pumped so much water onto the yachts one of them sank.

Crews continued to work hours after the fire to empty the boats of any diesel fuel that might be on board.

The cause is currently under investigation.

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