The Venice Fire Department and its Marine Unit battled Tuesday afternoon to extinguish multiple boat fires at the Venice Yacht Club on Tarpon Center Drive.

Fire Chief Shawn Carvey said four vessels were involved.

Fire and police units responded at 1:40 p.m. What they found were two yachts fully engulfed in flames. The fire spread to two other vessels.

All of the boats were docked at the time. No injuries were reported.

The city of Venice issued a press release around 3 p.m. asking residents to shelter in place due to smoke in the area. Tarpon Center Drive was closed to traffic while firefighters extinguished the flames.

The fires were extinguished by 3:40 p.m. Venice firefighters stayed on scene into the evening in case of any flareups.

Only one lane of Tarpon Center Drive is currently open near the Yacht Club. Motorists are asked to avoid the area if possible.

Venice Fire officials said the cause of the boat fires is believed to be electrical in nature, although the state fire marshal will investigate. Damage is estimated at around $1 million.

Some 20-25 Venice firefighters were on scene, according to the press release, along with 15 units from Venice Fire and Police departments, Sea Tow, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


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