Woman's floating retirement home sinks in San Leandro, along with her life savings

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) -- In the East Bay, a woman who sank her life-savings into a floating retirement home, had to watch it sink to the bottom of the San Leandro Marina. While she tries to figure out what to do next, crews are trying to keep leaking fuel from contaminating local waters.

Debbie Herbstreit has only owned the boat for about a month. She was away Sunday afternoon she got an urgent call from the harbormaster that the boat was taking on water and she needed to get there right away.

"I dropped everything and came here and I was praying a little prayer that it would be an inch of water or something," Herbstreit said.

Instead she found the boat half submerged and leaking fuel. She paid $25,000 for it, not to be a weekend diversion, but to be her home.

"My entire life savings. This was going to be my retirement home, because I cannot afford a house in San Francisco and I love the City" she said.

Alameda County Firefighters were on scene placing a boom around the vessel to keep whatever was leaking from contaminating the rest of the marina.

"To contain the fuel is our big concern and making sure nobody's on the boat. In this case there was nobody on the boat," Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Kramm said.

Debbie says she wasn't aware of any defects in the boat and has no idea why it sank. But, here in the Bay Area - where even an average home can range in price from the high six to the low seven figures - Debbie thought she had found a steal - a floating condo.

"It was beautiful. Hardwood floors, dishwasher, washer and dryer, a whirlpool bathtub. I had friends say to me, 'wow!'"

Click here to help Debbie recover.
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