Vero Beach boat fire causes temporary power outage

Posted at 10:35 AM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 16:48:09-04

From high above the scene, pictures from Chopper 5 show the extent of the damage to a 35-foot catamaran Tuesday morning just south of the 17th Street Bridge in Vero Beach.  The entire back end was destroyed after a huge blast.  No one was on the boat at the time.

Residents of the Fairline Harbor Community next to the water say the blast was so intense, their houses shook.

“Everything shook. It was really big, bright, brighter than the sun, it was just huge," said Roger Hensley.

 Hensley says he saw a light travel down from the power lines to the boat and back up.

“The light went back up the pole, I didn’t realize it was going up and down the pole at first like a big fireball and exploded. That’s when you had noise of the explosion," added Hensley.

The boat had been seen parked on a nearby island the past few days.  Indian River Fire-Rescue says the boat either came loose from its mooring or was dragging anchor when the mast hit the power lines.  No one was on board.

The smoke was so thick for a while, that traffic was at a standstill on the 17th Street Bridge.

Because the boat had come into contact with the power lines, electricity on the island was turned off for a short period Tuesday morning.