Sue Harris, 73, watched as firefighters tried to put out a blaze aboard the family's shrimp boat

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Among the dozens of people watching fire crew trying to contain a blaze aboard a wooden shrimp boat in near the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs is the boat's owner Sue Harris.

Watch the boat owner's interview in the video player

"It is hard watching your livelihood go up," said Harris.

Harris told ABC Action News she received a call from her daughter in St. Augustine informing her the family boat was on fire.   Harris and her husband just left the boat for the night and went home.

The blaze broke out around 8 p.m.

The 73-year-old explained that her husband has been a shrimp boater since he was a kid.  According to Harris, the family has owned several boats in the past but bought this one seven years ago.  The boat is not insured and cost the family more than $150,000.

"Who is going to insure a wooden boat that is that old?" Harris said.

Fire crews are having a hard time containing the fire because of all the fuel on board the boat.  Harris said just this afternoon her husband fueled up, filling up with 5,000 gallons of gas.  She said at roughly $3 a gallon the family spent about $15,000 on gas.

With the tide now coming in, the fuel has potential to spread down the waterway to other boats.  As of 10 p.m., another boat caught on fire.

Harris said she was not happy with how fire crews are fighting the blaze and called them 'unprepared.'

"You don't throw water on an oil fire," she said. 

She also told ABC Action News firefighters ran out of foam just an hour into fighting the flames.

It is still not clear what caused the fire.

Harris said her family employed two people.  They were not on the boat when the fire broke out.  No one was injured.

Enjoying their semi-retired years, Harris said it is likely her family will not have to get land jobs to stay afloat.


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