A civil suit has been filed against the operator of a shuttle boat that caught fire on Jan. 14.
- Suit seeks $15,000 in damages from Tropical Breeze Cruise
- Incident happened Jan. 14 in Pasco County
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Deborah Jero, who was a passenger on the casino shuttle, is seeking $15,000 in damages from Tropical Breeze Cruise.
The suit says Jero suffered injuries after jumping about 10 feet into water to escape the fire.
Port Richey Police said the boat, with 50 people on board, was headed to a casino cruise ship three miles out into the Gulf. The captain turned back toward land when police say he started experiencing engine trouble.
Flames overtook the Island Lady shuttle boat. About 15 people were taken to local hospitals.
Carrie Dempsey, 42, was a passenger and ended up dying later that night at Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center.
The suit alleges negligence on Tropical Breeze's part and that the company had a duty to "maintain its vessel in a reasonably safe manner under the circumstances, including keeping all of its engines, tackle, appurtenances, wiring, machinery, systems, electronics, and the vessel in good repair and free from any conditions that would present a hazard or risk of injury."
Spectrum Bay News 9 has reached out to Tropical Breeze Cruise for comment but hasn't heard back.