Four cottages along the shores of Lake Erie went up in smoke on Monday morning.
The cottages, which were located along Lake Erie’s Crystal Beach, were completely engulfed in flames by the time the Fort Erie Fire Department responded, according to reports.
Local James Bradley told The Hamilton Spectator that he was awakened by the smell of smoke. When he peered out his house window on the nearby Eastwood Drive, he was surrounded by a thick haze.
“We got the call around 3 o’clock in the morning, and we arrived on the scene to find two houses already fully involved and collapsing,” Fire Chief Larry Coplen told The Spectator.
The cause of the fire is still unknown, but it’s believed that the blaze started in one cottage and quickly spread to the others, because they’re all built so close to one another.
With unstable winds coming off the lake, it took forty-two firefighters and an hour-long effort to contain the blaze, which has reportedly resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage. Two of the four cottages that caught fire collapsed and a third is so badly burned that it will need to be torn down. Luckily, they were all empty, so the only damage was structural.
“The fire crews really did an amazing job to stop this from spreading past where it was when we got there,” Coplen said. “It could have easily started spreading west down the lake and taken out many other homes.”