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Vietnam Veteran Loses Boat In Fire

July 21, 2015 — A local Vietnam veteran’s life savings went up in flames when his boat caught fire Monday. 

The blaze, located in the channel between the Stuart Causeway and Sandsprit Park, was called in at 3:35 p.m. Emergency responders were on the scene within minutes, said Christine Weiss, public information officer for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. 

Four of the police’s marine units, along with one unit from the Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, found the 41-foot Hatteras completely engulfed in flames. 

The vessel belonged to Tony Veasey, a Vietnam vet who bought the boat so he could take his grandchildren fishing. When the boat caught fire, he tried to put it out but jumped ship when it started burning out if control, Weiss said. 

A good Samaritan rescued Veasey from the water. He was the only person on board.

Weiss said Veasey suffered no injuries except for a broken heart. 

The cause of the fire is unknown, Weiss said, but the boat that Veasey put his life savings into will not be able to be recovered. 

The boat was uninsured, and Monday marked the first time it had been taken out on the water, WPTV reported.

"It was just a dream that I'd finally get to retire and take my kids and my grandkids out for a weekend to fish and have fun," Veasey told the station. "It meant everything.”

UPDATE: July 22 — The community is banding together to help raise money for a new boat

The Martin County Sheriff's Office posted the following images of the boat fire to its Facebook page Monday afternoon: 

Boat In Fire

Boat In Fire

Boat In Fire

Boat In Fire

Boat In Fire