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Boat owner watches anxiously as nearby yacht burns

Posted: 5:13 PM, May 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-08 23:23:07Z
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PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla-- From his home in Atlanta, Georgia, Bryan Crabtree watched his 43-foot, $300,000 Privilege catamaran sailboat on wptv.com surrounded by heavy flames and smoke.

“I got a text from the guy who's leading the crew working on the boat and it was a fire,” said Crabtree. “Some kind of twilight zone. I was like — 'good grief how is this possible?' Of all the millions of boats in Florida that I’m the one sitting next to this major fire.”

Crabtree flew into Palm Beach County late Tuesday evening to see the damage to his vessel named The Brandison. He says his boat spent approximately one week being repaired at Cracker Boy Boat Works LLC in Riviera Beach prior to Tuesday’s fire on a 125-foot yacht that officials say was also being repaired.

“Because I knew it was going to be a mess as close as it was to this major fire,” Crabtree said. But he also thanks the strategic efforts of the four fire departments who responded to the blaze.

“They looked like they did the best job they could – the fire departments,” Crabtree added.

Riviera Beach interim Fire Chief John Kurd says the fire was completely extinguished at 4:15 a.m. Wednesday morning. But engines were called back to the scene to respond to reports of smoke as repair workers sift through the rubble.

The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office reports the initial fire investigation has not uncovered any indications of suspicious activity surrounding the incident. The investigation continues.