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Boat erupts in flames at Cortez home

MANATEE — A 24-foot fishing boat docked at a private home’s boat slip in Sarasota Bay erupted in flames Sunday night, destroying the vessel, according to West Manatee Fire Rescue officials.

Firefighters arrived at the home, at 10118 46th Ave. W. off Cortez Road, to find the Grady-White boat engulfed in flames after a 9:24 p.m. emergency call, West Manatee Capt. Tom Sousa said.

The boat, valued at around $30,000, was a total loss, but firefighters spared a second boat at the slip threatened by the blaze, according to Sousa.

Sousa said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but does not appear to be suspicious. The owners told investigators they had been fishing on the boat, but it had been docked for two hours before the fire. No one was on board or injured.

The boat is expected to be towed from the slip today, which will allow investigators to get a better look at what may have caused the fire, Sousa said.

Neighbor Jim Wedel said he came outside Sunday night after hearing explosions coming from the boat, and found bright flames reaching high into the night.

“The whole sky was lit up,” he said.

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