Monroe County Sheriff’s Department reports a boat caught fire after its owner mistakenly pumped gas into the bilge instead of the gas tank. Neighboring homes were evacuated for a short time and the store is closed for an undetermined amount of time.
The 25-foot Seapro was parked at the gas pumps at the Tom Thumb store at the 102.6 mm at 10 a.m. Saturday. The boat’s owner was fueling it when he realized gas was pouring from the drains at the back of the boat. He quickly plugged the drains to keep more gas from spilling out.
Key Largo Fire responded along with Sheriff’s deputies.
The store was evacuated and Tow Boat U.S. was called to respond and empty the approximately 100 gallons of fuel from the boat. The job was about 90% finished when the remaining gas ignited.
As the fire department worked to contain the fire and keep it from escalating, deputies evacuated surrounding homes and businesses. The fire was contained a short time later. The Fire Marshal responded and will be investigating.
The Tom Thumb store remains closed due to damage from the fire.