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Burned yacht towed out of Harbor Island

In just a few hours crews will begin towing a yacht that caught fire and partially sank off Harbor Island.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The charred remains of a yacht destroyed by fire were pulled to shore at Harbor Island Tuesday.

The vessel went up in flames Monday, taking firefighters nearly an hour to extinguish.

Tony Olson was part of the team hired to safely get the boat out of there... And it wasn't easy.

"The entire port side of this walkway is very sketchy. You can't hook anything to it because the cleat will just pull right out, so you have to start inventing new attachment points," he said.

With help from float bags, they got the boat up and over to Marine Group Boats Works in Chula Vista, where they pumped out enough water to hopefully prevent more damage.

"We worked with vessel assist to stabilize it, make sure it's environmentally sound, then we'll be hauling the boat out of the water, cooperating with the insurance company and the owner to complete the investigation and determine what the next course of action for the boat is," Todd Roberts of Marine Group Boat Works said.

It's still not clear why the fire started, but it happened while workers were dealing with an electrical problem.

The boat had just participated in the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. The lights used to decorate the 30-year-old yacht were left on overnight, but it's not known if that contributed to starting the fire.

It happened around 12:30 Monday afternoon while the owner was below deck. Apparently she didn't even know the boat was on fire until others started screaming. By that time the flames were so fierce, she had to be pulled through a porthole. Damage is estimated at $80,000 thousand dollars, but is the boat totaled?

"Yeah, probably. It's just too far burned. The entire inside is gutted," Olson said.

Luckily, no one was seriously injured and no other boats were damaged. Crews on the scene say they were able to quickly clean up any environmental issues.


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