Jacksonville woman loses ‘home on the water’ after boat catches fire during Nicole

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX caught up with the owner of a boat that caught on fire Thursday as Tropical Storm Nicole moved through Jacksonville.

Brenda Jones lost her sailboat Euphoria, which was also what she called her “home on the water.”

“Euphoria means a feeling of utter bliss and contentment,” Jones said. “She was a 1971 Pierson 33. She was a coastal cruiser so perfect for Florida.”

Jones said she evacuated from the boat during the storm to stay with friends. It was anchored and sitting on the Ortega River when she received a devastating phone call from a friend.

Brenda Jones and her beloved sailboat Euphoria (WJXT)

“A friend of mine that lives at the marina over there keeps an eye on it for me because I’m not there. She calls me and she says, ‘Brenda, your boat’s on fire!’” Jones said.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department sent a fire boat to put out the flames. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Since the boat was anchored, the fire did not spread to other boats docked at the marina. However, Jones said the boat sunk into the river before she get to it.

Euphoria was Jones’ only home and now she is staying with friends. All she has left is her cat and the clothes on her back because her belongings were also lost as a result of the fire.

“The worse part is I have no home now. Home on the water is different than home on land, but it’s still your home and everything I had was on it,” Jones said.

Jones said she had insurance on the boat and is waiting to receive money for the damage.

“It’s a 51-year-old boat. It’s worth a lot more money to me than it was to the insurance company. Your home isn’t worth to anyone what it’s worth to you,” Jones said.

Her insurance company will also retrieve the boat from the bottom of the Ortega River.

Jones’ family started a fundraiser to raise money to help her get back on her feet while she waits for insurance. If you’d like to donate, click here.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.