Officials investigate cause of shrimp boat fire, evaluate impact of fire, fuel spill

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Crews in Tarpon Springs are looking at the long-term impact of a major three-alarm shrimp boat fire that affected another boat and led to thousands of gallons of oil being spilled near the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs overnight.

The 80-foot boat vessel, Skye Marie, was docked at the west end of the tourist area along famous Dodecanese Blvd before it went up in flames.

The fire began after 7 p.m. Tuesday, but as of 5 a.m., fire crews contained the fire.

The shrimp boat, valued at $150,000, was the livelihood of the boat owner Sue Harris, and she says the boat wasn't insured. (Read more here:

She said her husband had just fueled the boat with 5,000 gallons of gas earlier Tuesday evening.

By 7:40 p.m., a call was made to authorities about the boat being on fire.

A second boat also caught on fire about 10 p.m.

The shrimp boat was sandwiched between two other boats. The outward boat was pushed out of the way by citizens and crews. The owner of the inside boat had to cut the line attaching the boat to the dock because of the rising pressure and the tide coming in.

Those boats were saved from the fire, but the shrimp boat sustained substantial damage.

At one point, firefighters had controlled the fire, but were told to evacuate out of fear of what might happen, and minutes later, the boat burst into flames again.

The boat tipped over due to the weight of the water and foam used to battle the fire, causing fuel to spill into the water.

No damage was made to the dock that the boats were tied to, but the fuel that was spilled in the water caught fire and spread to the northside of the river and caught that dock on fire.

As of Wednesday morning, all fires are out and crews are determing how to handle the oil spill.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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