Overnight fire destroys Fernandina Beach business

No injuries reported, State Fire Marshal investigating cause

By Jennifer Ready - Reporter, Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - An overnight fire destroyed a Fernandina Beach business next to Tiger Point Marina, according to firefighters.

Heavy flames engulfed the Ocean Outboard Marine boat shop around 11:30 p.m. Monday. Firefighters with the Fernandina Beach Fire Department were alerted to the fire after someone drove by the business and saw the flames.

Flames shot through the roof and the fire was impinging on a warehouse nearby until the flames were contained. The building was a total loss, but there were no injuries.

Devastated owner

Eric Oliver, owner of Ocean Outboard Marine, first found out about the fire around midnight when someone came banging on his door to alert him.

“It took 30 years to get it to that and three hours to go away,” Oliver said.

He said it was a devastating sight when he arrived Tuesday morning.

“It was pretty ugly. The building was burning, and you can’t get close. Trucks everywhere. I don’t even know what to say, I really don’t,” Oliver said.

The fire had burned through the storage space, leaving behind a charred shell of the building. Multiple boats were damaged beyond recognition. 

MORE PHOTOS:  Fernandina Beach business destroyed by fire

Several employees from the Tiger Point Marina, as well as Oliver's friends, stopped by throughout the morning after hearing about the fire. Many of them were also devastated to see what had happened.

“Pretty bizarre. You can see right over there where I work. I’ve been there 12 years, and I know these people real well that work over here. I’m kind of at a loss for words. It’s pretty weird for me,” said Dave Ragan, an employee at the marina.

Several boat owners also arrived throughout the morning to find out if their boats were damaged by the flames. It's unclear who will foot the bill for those losses, but a GoFundMe account has been set up to help the business rebuild.

Oliver said they are going to push forward, clean up the debris, put it in a corner and put up a tent so they are able to go back to work.

The investigation

The State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, along with members of the Fernandina Beach Police Department. For now, the cause of the fire has been listed as "undetermined," but investigators are looking into several causes, including electrical or a possible lightning strike.

Florida Public Utilities was asked to secure power. The Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Coast Guard were notified about potential chemical exposure.

 

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