Marathon Fire Chief John Johnson received the call last night at 3:05 am that Salty’s Bar and Grill and the neighboring marina were engulfed in flames.
“Upon our arrival we obviously fully involved structure fire,” he said eight hours later as fire inspectors surveyed the remains as Marathon FD continued to poke hot spots.
State Fire Detective and former Monroe County Firefighter Wally Romero said the blaze does not appear to be arson related.
“At this time we do not have a cause or origin of the fire,” Johnson added as his crews rotated in and out.
Romero said that pending the outcome of a full investigation all he could say was, “Failure somewhere led to a catastrophic event.”
The mutual aid response team, including the Marathon and Monroe County departments first knocked down the blaze and then assumed a defensive position to protect neighboring properties and vessels.
Two boats melted into the water, then broke free from the dock. The boats were quickly recovered and lashed back to the dock.
“We were very fortunate to have two fire hydrants right down the street,” Johnson said. Other agencies on the scene to assist with the investigation and containment include the DEP and US Coast Guard.