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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Dozens of Houseboats Burning Near Orlando

Aired July 25, 2003 - 06:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news, too, to tell you about, a big marina fire in Volusia County, Florida near Orlando, Florida. This is a marina, and we understand that 25 houseboats are on fire.
We want to bring Chad in once again. He's familiar with the area.

What can you tell us about this -- Chad?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Carol.

I'm now seeing just a little bit more light. I can see that there's a watery reflection down here, so the houseboats that you see here are what we call wet-slipped boats, which means they are actually in the water all the time. And even some of these -- you see a couple of up and down piers, some of the wooden piers are also on fire.

For a time, I thought that this was possibly one of those launch sites where maybe the marina would take a boat in or out and it would be in for service. But we're only seeing a couple of boats on fire here. So, this must have been burning for quite some time, and a lot of the boats to the left of this shot are still smoldering. You have 25 in fact, or at least a couple of a dozen, as we're saying here has been reported, are on fire.

And the problem is this is not like your backyard cookout. This is very acrid smoke, very dangerous. We're talking about fiberglass burning, vinyl, foam, and obviously even gasoline and oil in all of those boats.

It's not atypical for a boat to catch on fire. I mean, it just happens all the time. There's a lot of electrical equipment in there. These boats are plugged into shore power. There are pumps that sometimes overheat. There are cooking appliances in there. There's a microwave. There's a refrigerator. All of these houseboats literally are places where people live.

So, we're not just talking about people losing boats here. We're talking about people losing their homes as well. A lot of folks don't even have other homes. They live right there on the dock, right there on that and in that marina. So, kind of a tragic situation for a lot of folks who will obviously be on the ground as daybreak occurs -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, OK. You're going to get to the weather in just a bit, because we want to go live to Baghdad now, OK, Chad? MYERS: Sure.

COSTELLO: Thanks so much for bringing us up-to-date about the marina fire near Orlando, Florida.

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