• Local family searching for people who helped them after their boat caught fire

    By: Amber Krycka , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A local family is trying to find the people who helped them after their boat caught fire.

    The compass and the anchors survived. Luckily, so did the crew. 

    “It felt like it was in the movies. It didn’t seem real, and honestly, it doesn’t seem real now,” said Brandie Alred. 

    It started as a pleasant day on the water but quickly turned into a fight for survival. 

    “I just yelled for Brandie, 'Life jackets, off the boat, off the boat, everybody off the boat,'” said Lance Alred. 

    The Alreds and their two girls were on their way to St. Augustine to celebrate the Fourth of July on their older boat they just restored. As they were cruising along, something went wrong near the Matanzas Inlet. 


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    “All of a sudden I hear a clump, clump,” said Brandie Alred. 

    “We kind of looked at each other like, 'What was that?'” said Lance Alred. 

    Lance Alred said seconds later, he was surrounded by thick smoke.

    “This huge black smoke, hot smoke just hit me in the face,” he said. 

    Once they were all off the boat and in the water, the Alreds said not even 20 seconds later, their entire boat was on fire. They said the boat looked like a fireball as it floated away. 

    “I really think that we probably only had about five to 10 seconds before we were gone, too,” Brandie Alred said. 

    Brandie Alred said she is thankful for her husband, who got them off the boat when he did, and for the family who not only alerted the Coast Guard and firefighters, but stopped to help. She said they pulled the girls onto their boat and calmed them down. 

    “I’m very thankful that they were there and did everything they could to help us, and it would be nice to know who they are so we can say thank you to them,” she said. 

    The Alreds said they think it was the battery that started the fire, but they said they will really never know. 

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