Naples Fire-Rescue Department responded to a boat fire Tuesday night on Naples Bay between Port Royal and Royal Harbor. Three people on board were able to evacuate without injuries and were rescued by another boat in the area.
According to the fire department’s Facebook post, it was a 17-foot bay boat that went up in flames. Smoke first started to appear from one of the boat hatches.
A fire department boat got to the scene and was able to extinguish the fire. Greater Naples Fire Boat, Marco Fire Boat, Florida Fish and Wildlife, and Collier County Sheriff’s Office marine units also responded to assist.
After the fire was put out, the boat was towed to a marina.
Andy Ferguson saw the flames from a window at home.
“We were both in our living room, and we looked outside and noticed that there was a boat on fire,” Ferguson said. “It was engulfed in flames, deep and dark smoke that neighbors even saw and came to ask about.”
Those on board were heading back to the dock when the vessel caught fire.
“Well, my first thought was is there anybody on that boat?” Ferguson said.
Luckily, everyone was off by the time the boat became fully engulfed in flames.
The fire department said the people on the boat jumped into the water after it caught fire, and then, good Samaritans in another boat rescued them.
They eventually climbed onto Ferguson’s dock.
“They were relieved,” Ferguson said. “I think they were renting, and they were …. obviously, their whole day was cut short, but they just felt relieved to be safe.”
The boat was destroyed in the fire, and a fire marshal is still working Wednesday to figure out how it happened.
“We look for burn patterns; we look for charring on the vessel,” explained Fire Marshal Corey Adamski with Naples Fire-Rescue. “We take into account witness statements, what they saw, what they smelled, what they heard.”
Ferguson will be wary of boats after what he witnessed others experience.
“A lot of excitement,” Ferguson said. “That’s why I really don’t want to be an owner. I’d rather be a renter.”