Two Yachts Burn in Fort Lauderdale

18 May 2020 By Laura Dunn

Early morning on May 16, 2020, two separate superyacht fires, less than a mile apart, were extinguished by the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue department. Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan confirmed that a fire broke out aboard the 93-foot Benetti M/Y Princeville at Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC). The call was dispatched at about 1:50 a.m., and they received another dispatch call at 2:45 a.m. for the 98-foot Hargrave M/Y Tigers Eye, located at a residential dock less than a mile away.

“We actually received multiple calls, one of them being the marina, another one being another boat that was docked next to it,” says Gollan, who confirmed that no one was on either vessel at the time.

For their first fire battle at LMC about M/Y Princeville, “The flames were pretty extensive on the bow of [the] boat — I would say at least twenty feet,” he reports. “The Princeville started in what appeared to be the owner suite or the main stateroom in the front of the boat,” Gollan says.

The fire aboard Tigers Eye started in the wheelhouse, Gollan says, but the staterooms on the first floor had very minimal damage. “The deck up was where the damage was at,” Gollan says. “I didn’t get on board, so I didn’t really get to see what the extent was. The back salon, you could still see the furniture on the exterior of the boat was still intact,” he says, adding he assumes the engine room area was also probably still intact.

Both fires were substantial due to weather, Gollan says, and required large teams of firefighters to fight the blaze. The fires are currently being investigated. “We send samples off to a state laboratory, so they take samples to make sure no accelerants were used, what the chemical makeup was to determine different things,” he says. “But on any type of large yacht like that, when there’s a substantial financial impact, the insurance companies will also send down their own team of investigators. So they should have arrived today, I would imagine.”

Although there was extensive damage to both vessels, Gollan says there’s hope: “I've seen some miracles when it comes to marine stuff. The hulls on both vessels were completely intact. Both boats were floating, which is always a good thing as well.”

See WPLG Local 10's video here.

Photos: Courtesy of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue