A boat owner wanted to sail away on retirement. Then came the lightning

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Florida’s recent nasty weather, which included a tornado and hail warning for Palm Beach County on Wednesday, could have blocked a Clearwater man’s retirement dreams.

According to the Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department, Wednesday’s storms likely set off a boat fire at Island Estates.

“Lightning is believed to have struck a sailboat and started a fire,” the crew posted on social media.

The aftermath: a charred deck with much of the fire damage on the inside.

When crews arrived Wednesday afternoon to the docks outside the Dolphin Point Apartments, flames were already shooting from the bow and forward cabin of the “Moon Song” sailboat.

Clearwater fire aftermath.jpg
The aftermath of a sailboat fire in Clearwater on June 19, 2019. Clearwater Fire & Rescue believes lightning might have started the boat fire. Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department

According to WFLA’s News Channel 8, the sailboat’s owner wanted to use the “Moon Song” during his planned retirement.

Neighbors said the owner recently lost a leg. “He’s pretty upset about the whole situation. He’s been through a lot this year” a resident told WFLA.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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