It took one hot grill last Friday on Panama City Beach to send thousands of dollars of Lifeguard equipment up in flames. Now the lifeguards are reloading and working on replacing the gear.
One week ago, on a hot beach day, someone decided to put their hot grill on top of their lifeguard equipment box next to the city pier.
"A wind may have blown it over, burned their way through some flammable materials inside the box and pretty much consumed it," PCB Lifeguard director Will Spivey said. "Pretty much barbecued our rescue equipment."
Just like that thousands of dollars of equipment were gone.
"Anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000," Spivey said. "Everything from rescue boards to missing swimmer search equipment, fins."
Days later, some of the charred pieces of the box remained on the beach. PCB lifeguards say with their 3 year old box gone now it's time to rebuild.
"We're trying to get it up quick," Breeden said. "We're just a bunch of lifeguards putting it together the way we want it, so there's a little bit of pride going into it."
Working under the hot sun, Breeden says he has some plans for the new box, including shelves, doors, an angled roof, and maybe the most important feature...
"We're also going to put a fence around the perimeter of this one," Breeden said.
Back on the beach, various pieces of safety equipment sit around the lifeguard stand. Spivey says other agencies are loaning them gear until they evaluate what they need.
"As we replace equipment, being smart about what we purchase... making us a more efficient life saving service," Spivey said.
Spivey says there are no plans to pursue criminal charges, but they are looking to insurance to help replace the lost equipment. That new and improved box should make it's way to the beach in the next few days.