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Date of Issue: May 25, 2006

Early Sunday fire burns boat at new city dock

boat fire pic
This "incinerated" boat caught fire early Sunday morning in the Sunrise boat basin in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Courtesy WMFR

The wood on the new finger docks in the Sunrise Basin in Holmes Beach still looks new and the grass along the seawall hasn't filled in yet, but at least one dock was charred by an early morning fire Sunday, May 21.

The cause isn't yet known, but fishing guide Justin Moore said his boat is "incinerated."

The 26-foot open fishing boat was docked across from his folks' house in the 2700 block of Avenue B and is valued at more than $40,000.

West Manatee Fire and Rescue District Capt. Chris Kiernan said it took firefighters from Station No. 1 in Holmes Beach five minutes to respond and five minutes to put out the fire. It was "extensively involved" in flames when they arrived, he said.

Neighbor Rob Reiber said he heard something in the early morning hours that he thought might have been the nearby FPL transformer. "I checked on the kids, and for a moment I thought something had fallen on the house. Then the neighbor down the block called and asked if my house was on fire.

"That got me up."

Reiber said he heard a big bang and it may have been the battery on the boat exploding.

Moore indicated that fire officials were considering whether the battery was the fire's source.

Reiber's boat was docked next to Moore's with just a finger dock separating them in the water. His bimini is singed, and a rod holder melted, but otherwise his boat is OK.

Moore had his boat on a trailer and towed to Cannons Marina Sunday, and he was on his way Sunday evening to look at a replacement.

"I've got to fish," Capt. Moore said.