"He went back in the water several times and helped other people get out because people got stuck in the mud, some people were crawling trying to get to shore", said Shelia McAfee said.
Tropical Breeze Casino says the shuttle boat that caught fire started having engine problems after leaving the dock, but an official cause is under investigation.
A Coast Guard spokesman said investigators are interviewing the captain, crew and passengers, as well as making sure inspections and paperwork are up to date along with all required licenses.
A female passenger on a casino shuttle boat that was consumed by a huge fire off Florida's Gulf Coast has died.
About 30 evacuated passengers took shelter in the home of nearby resident Larry Santangelo, who told the Tampa Bay Times he sees the boat pass by his home daily. "The whole neighborhood [was] communicating and going back to our houses to get whatever they need like water or clothes like socks".