Three boats catch fire at Bay Pines Marina

By Laurie Davison, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, May 11, 2015, 9:40 PM EDT

Three boats caught fire at the Bay Pines Marina in St. Petersburg.

Officials said one boat caught on fire around 5 p.m. on Monday and spread to the other two. One of the boats on fire was cut loose and drifted into the water. It came close to the Pinellas Trail Bridge.

"It does not look like the bridge has suffered any damage preliminarily," said Chief Heather Burford of Seminole Fire Rescue. "There was a lot of foot traffic on the bridge. The sheriff's office was able to get up there and clear the bridge. A number of people were standing in the smoke because at that time the boat was fully engulfed."

Ruthie Busbaum was wrapping birthday presents for her daughter on the family boat nearby when she saw the flames.

"There was three of us on the dock and we were all kind of discussing what we should do," said Busbaum. "Should we cut the other boats loose, did we have time, was there danger of an explosion?"

There was nobody on board the burning boats at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

Busbaum said one of the boats is owned by a member of the military who's serving overseas.

"What we were concerned about is that guy has been working on his boat for years and invested his soul into it and my heart is breaking for him," she said.

Crews have extinguished the fires.

One boat is nearly 35 feet.

The Pinellas Trail Bridge was closed for a while because of smoke but has now reopened.

Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the fire as well as if the fires had any environmental impact to the area.