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CCFD: Errant flare caused New Year’s Eve boat fire

By Staff | Jan 3, 2019

A New Year’s Eve boat fire has been attributed to a flare that landed in the vessel.

Witnesses say they saw a flare gun shoot into the air around 10:30 p.m., then come back down in the same general vicinity.

It landed across the canal in a boat docked behind a residence at 1727 Savona Parkway, engulfing a 24-foot vessel docked there in flames.

“Fireworks were going off all night on the canal banks. Then, from my house, I saw an orange glow in the air, and watched it come down, but couldn’t pinpoint exactly where,” said Keith Porter, a neighbor of the boat owner. “I went out to see what was going on, and within a minute or so, the boat was completely on fire.”

Porter ran down to his neighbor’s house with a hose, but quickly discovered that it would not do the job needed to extinguish the blaze.

He called 9-1-1 and sprayed his neighbors’ second boat, a much larger vessel that was right next to the one in flames, in hope of preventing the fire from spreading.

Porter was also nervous the fire would spread to his neighbors,’ or even his own house, which he said was less than 100 feet away.

“The fire department responded fast,” he said of the Cape Coral Fire Department’s response time. “They took care of it right away. Luckily, it didn’t burn the dock or his bigger boat.”

The fire destroyed the smaller boat, resulting in $70,000 in damage, according to the CCFD.

They concluded the cause to be accidental in nature, but caused by the flare gun.

“It was determined after ruling out all other possible causes that the careless discharging of the flare gun landed in the boat and started the fire,” said CCFD spokesperson Andrea Schuch.

Porter said that the lift and pilings supporting the boat were destroyed and charred through.

“People don’t realize just how quick a boat can go up in flames, but the fire department did a great job,” he added.

No charges have been filed.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj