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Key West's Southernmost Point already on the mend after New Year's vandalism

 Repairs on the Southernmost Point in Key West started on New Year's Day and should be complete by the end of the week, according to the city.
Gwen Filosa
/
Miami Herald
Repairs on the Southernmost Point in Key West started on New Year's Day and should be complete by the end of the week, according to the city.

The iconic buoy-shaped Southernmost Point marker was charred in the early morning hours of New Year's Day — but repairs are already underway.

The Southernmost Point marker in Key West has stood up to harsh sunlight and hurricanes. And now, it's been through fire.

In the early morning hours of New Year's Day, two people lit a Christmas tree on fire next to the buoy-shaped concrete marker at the corner of Whitehead and South streets.

The marker is painted in red, yellow and black stripes and says "90 miles to Cuba." It's so popular with tourists that there's almost always a line of people waiting to take selfies and group photos with it.

The fire blackened parts of the landmark, led to headlines around the country — and caused outrage on social media.

The city started repainting the buoy the next day. A city spokeswoman said Monday that repairs should be done by the end of the week.

Images of the suspects lighting the fire were captured on a webcam. Key West police say they have been identified, but they're not releasing the names while they're still investigating.

 A webcam captured the suspects lighting the tree on fire.
screenshot
/
Two Oceans Digital
A webcam captured the suspects lighting the tree on fire.

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Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.
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