A fundraising campaign has been launched after three families lost their boats and all their possessions during a fire at the Paradise Marina in North Fort Myers in Florida.

An investigation is underway after a fire swept through the Paradise Marina in North Fort Myers, Florida, leaving three families homeless.

The blaze broke out late on 15 October 2016 and damaged four boats.

Firefighters from the North Fort Myers Fire Control and Rescue spent more than an hour trying to bring the fire under control.

The authorities say one person was taken to hospital with second degree burns. One woman had to be rescued from the water after jumping into the marina.

Brittany Shore, who lives on a boat in the marina, watched as the flames spread.

Speaking to NBC-2, she said the propane tanks on the vessels also caught fire.

“It was shooting up sideways and to the left,” said Shore.

“There were bright blue flames. It was going pretty strong and caught the other boat on fire almost instantly,” she added.

Fire at Paradise Marina, North Fort Myers, Florida, USA

The remains of the boats following the fire. Credit: Heather and Willie Singleton

Two family pets were also reported to have died in the fire.

Officers from the North Fort Myers Fire Control & Rescue District are looking into the cause of the blaze.

Meanwhile, other sailors who live on boats at Paradise Marina have launched an online fundraising campaign for the affected families.

Heather and Willie Singleton started the campaign on behalf of fellow boat owner Judy Starr.

They wrote: “Last evening there was a devastating fire at Paradise Marina in N Ft Myers. Three families lost all their worldly processions: money, jewlery, pictures, clothing and all anything else you might imagine.”

“Two families will receive no insurance benefits as a result of this disaster. These boats were these families primary residents. We are requesting donations in any amount to help these families. Donations will be split evenly between all families. Any donation you can provide would be greatly appreciated.”

The campaign’s target is $75,000. So far, $1,760 has been raised.