Famous Key West buoy burned after 2 set tree on fire

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Police in Florida are searching for two people who burned a part of Key West’s famous Southernmost Point buoy early New Year’s Day after setting a fire near the tourist attraction.

Authorities said two males lit a Christmas tree on fire in front of the buoy around 3:30 a.m. Saturday and the flames charred sections of the colorful, 4-ton (3,600-kilogram) cement monument that reads “90 miles to Cuba, Southernmost Point, Continental U.S.A.”

Archival webcam images of the buoy from a marketing company shows two people lighting the tree on fire near the marker, with the flames leaving a large black burn mark on the monument.

The webcam showed tourists gathering near the damaged buoy for pictures later Saturday.

The red, yellow, black and white marker resembles a giant marine navigational buoy. It proclaims that Key West is 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Havana. Artists restored the monument after it was damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017.

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