Gulfport family loses everything in boat fire

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A family is devastated after their boat was struck by lightning and destroyed by the resulting fire Saturday on Boca Ciega Bay.

A large cloud of black smoke could be seen over the bay as the boat went up in flames. Dawn Traver watched helplessly from shore. She was forced to witness all of her hard work be destroyed.

"Years of dreaming and planning and trying to go forward and living on the boat, and the next minute, you know, it's all gone. It just doesn't seem like it's really happening," Traver said.

Dawn and her dad, Bruce Traver lived on the boat and were preparing to take it to the Florida Keys on the way to the Bahamas. Now they're living with family in Plant City.

Saturday evening, during a trip to get groceries, they got a call from a friend telling them the boat was on fire.

"We worked hard for it. So, just to watch in one second, all of it turn backwards again, it was pretty devastating," Bruce Traver said.

Everything they owned was destroyed, including clothes, electronics, and family mementos. They had just invested in brand-new diving and GPS equipment, but they did not have insurance.

"We thought maybe we could go out and salvage some of the stuff off of it and recover some money, but I don't think the boat is even able to be raised, it is that badly damaged," Traver added.