Pinellas Sheriff's Arson detectives are investigating a suspicious fire that consumed one boat and heavily damaged three others at a Madeira Beach Marina this morning.
Firefighters responded to a huge fire around 6 a.m. Wednesday as four docked boats burned near Madeira Beach.
The boats were docked at a marina near Gulf Boulevard at 131st Avenue East.
Seminole Fire Chief George Bessler said the fires are 'suspicious.' He added that a white car was seen speeding away from the scene just after the boat fire erupted.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is searching for the vehicle and a person of interest.
The boat where the fire started was burned down to the water line.
One of the boats was occupied, but the boater was able to escape.
Officials closed northbound lanes of Gulf Boulevard as Seminole Fire crews and Pinellas deputies responded to the scene.
Heavy smoke drifted through the area as firefighters dealt with the blaze.
Marina officials estimate that each boat ranges in price or replacement value from $100,000 to $175,000, for a total in estimated damage of more than $500,000.
The boat where the fire originated is a 38-foot 1991 Mediterranean, valued between $85,000 and $100,000.
Damage to the dock is estimated to be around $35,000.
Detectives are interviewing witnesses at this time. Detectives say they will probably haul the boat, where the fire originated, out of the water tomorrow as part of the investigation.
No injuries were reported but one firefighter was treated for a heat-related illness.