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CCPD forwards boat fire report to State Attorney’s Office

January 23, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A Cape Coral Police Depart-ment investigation into a New Year's Eve boat fire possibly caused by a flare fired by a neighbor has been forwarded to the State Attorney's Office for its consideration.

The incident was investigated by the Cape Police Marine Unit.

"The case is being moved to the State Attorney's Office for review to see if charges are to be filed, and if they want (our department) to conduct further investigations," CCPD spokesperson Master Sgt. Allan Kolak said Tuesday.

The fire caused an estimated $70,000 damage to the boat as well as damaged a boat lift and dock in the canal behind Savona Parkway

The incident also was investigated by the Cape Coral Fire Depart-ment, which responded to the blaze as neighbors attempted, unsuccessfully, to extinguish it with garden hoses.

"After ruling out possible natural causes and taking into consideration the boat hadn't been used or touched in over a week. It was determined that the origin was in the boat and the cause was possibly a flare that was shot up in the air and accidentally fall into the boat," a Cape Coral Fire Department incident report states. "Note: that it is uncertain what truly caused the fire as there were many people shooting off fireworks and the boat suffered severe fire damage and water damage destroying all evidence."

Charles Capehart, 83, said he watched as his 24-foot Four Winns boat went up in flames around 10:30 p.m on Dec. 31.

He, and neighbor Ken Partsch, owner of the dock, said that they don't want anyone go to jail. They would, however, like to see some kind of justice in connection with the incident.

According to incident reports, a man who fired a flare into the air prior to the fire spoke with CCPD and CCFD at the scene, stating that he may have started the fire because of the timeline from when he shot a 12-gauge boat signal flare into the air, to when the boat caught fire.

The responding officer's narrative concluded it was unknown if the flare had actually started the fire and, if it had, "there was no intent to damage the dock or boat."

No charges have been filed.

Capehart said he has insurance, but had to pay $5,000 out of pocket to have the charred vessel removed from the water.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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