Body recovered from San Pablo canal days after boat fire

Jacksonville police say foul play, arson not suspected

Jacksonville police say foul play, arson not suspected.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday recovered a body from a canal along Plumosa Drive in San Pablo after a boat fire Sunday.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said it was originally called to that location early Sunday morning for a fire on a sailboat. Firefighters doused the blaze, but couldn’t find the owner. The boat later sank.

“Believe it blew up in the morning. Believe it was Sunday, and fire department came, put the fire out. Of course, it was all the way into the water,” said neighbor Louis Stuart.

The case was turned over to the state fire marshal.

“At the time of the investigation, there’s no information to lead that there was anybody else involved other than property damage,” said JSO Sgt. Doug Molina.

Molina said police were then contacted around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday about the body of a man in the canal.

“Police were notified by people in the area that a body was found in the wreckage of the sailboat of the area that was previously reported,” Molina said.

The neighbor who called police said he found the body halfway on the burnt sailboat.

Police said foul play and arson are not suspected right now. An autopsy is scheduled to determine a cause of death, according to Molina, and the Sheriff’s Office is working with the state fire marshal to find out the cause of the fire. Investigators said they have an idea how the fire started based on information from neighbors, but JSO would not elaborate on that information.

The state fire marshal’s office, JFRD and the JSO dive team all assisted in responding to the scene.

Aerial of burned sailboad and dive team members working in Intracoastal Waterway. (WJXT/Sky4)

About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.