VIDEO: Fire destroys 112-footer at California boatyard


Fire gutted a 112-foot steel-hulled yacht valued at $24 million at a California boatyard last week.

The cause of the spectacular blaze is still being investigated. Video of the fire was captured by a local charter captain who was using a remote-controlled quadcopter drone rigged with a camera.

The fire broke out about 9:15 a.m. Thursday at Marine Group Boat Works in Chula Vista, engulfing the yacht and sending flames and plumes of smoke into the air near the dry dock.

“I’ve never seen a fire that big spreading that fast before,” Christopher Gonzalez, who works in the yard’s machine shop, told San Diego 6 News.

“One of the hoses blew out; I saw smoke coming out from one of the holes. I looked and it started spreading forward, climbing up to the bow, and before you knew it the whole thing was going up,” Gonzalez said.

Firefighters could not board the yacht because of the intensity of the fire.

"Am I angry? No. Anger is not the right word," the yacht owner, Larry Jodsass, 79, a retired electrical engineer, told NBC 7 San Diego. "It was my toy, my wonderful, beautiful piece of equipment. I think it's the most beautiful boat that ever has been built."

Workers have speculated that the fire might have been sparked by someone working in the boat with a welding torch. Jodsass said he will press the shipyard for information about the fire.

San Diego boat captain Kurt Roll was using a remote-controlled quadcopter drone to shoot aerial footage at a different shipyard in Chula Vista when he spotted a plume of smoke rising in the distance.

He decided to fly his device to get closer to what appeared to be a massive boat fire and captured some incredible close-up footage.

“I've been flying RC aircraft for over 27 years. I'm also a sailor and own a boat. This is any boater’s worst nightmare come true,” Roll wrote on his YouTube video posting. “It doesn't matter if you have money or not. A boat fire is devastating if you love your boat.”


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