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Date of Issue: September 07, 2006

Holy sharks! Up in smoke

"Great White," an offshore fishing boat, was totally destroyed by fire in Cortez Aug. 29. According to West Manatee Fire & Rescue District Deputy Fire Marshal Kurt Lathrop, owner William L. Turner was working on the boat near Annie's Bait and Tackle when he put down a lit butane torch, which in turn caught the boat on fire at about 11 a.m.

Fire Inspector Tom Soleau said the vessel, a 28-foot 1997 Premier, was "pretty much a total loss." He added that Turner had just put a new engine in the boat two months ago.

In other fire matters, Lathrop said a fire that caused at least $1 million in damage to five boats at Longboat Key Moorings last month is still under investigation, although he hinted that the cause of the blaze may been electrical in nature. Islander Photo: Courtesy Capt. Kim Ibasfalean