Hundreds of boats damaged as multiple crews battle Monroe County marina fire

Investigation in cause of fire is ongoing

Hundreds of boats damaged in marina fire in Monroe County

LA SALLE, Mich. – Dozens of fire crews battled a three-alarm fire Friday Morning at the Toledo Beach Marina in La Salle.

ORIGINAL STORY: Video: Large fire burns at Toledo Beach Marina in Monroe County

Dec. 7 update: Fire chief: Cause of Toledo Beach Marina fire may never be determined

The fire was called in just before 7 a.m. By noon, firefighters were able to get some of the flames under control, but there was still significant smoke from the area. At one point, the smoke was so thick, the flashing emergency lights of first responders could barely be seen.

An entire building filled with hundreds of boats was nearly destroyed on the shore of Lake Erie. Video of the fire went viral on social media.

“I’m thinking it’s going to be a real tragedy for a lot of people,” said Daniel Downing. “I’m sure they have underinsured a lot or people or have no insurance at all.”

Fire crews are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Despite being on the shore of Lake Erie, crews were unable to get enough water to battle the fire properly.

“The water is there but accessing the water -- to deliver it in a manner that the fire guys need it -- is very difficult,” said Mark Hammond, with Monroe County Emergency Management Division.

“Our phones just started going crazy at about 6:45-7 a.m.,” said Ronni Wolfe. “With our boat being in the building right next to it, we got here as fast as we could.”

For boat-owners like Wolfe, the morning was heartbreaking. All they could do was stand by and watch their boats burn. Wolfe said she, and others, are glad no one was injured.

“It’s things, not people,” Wolfe said. “There’s much worse going on out there. We’re grateful we didn’t have a loved one or something irreplaceable on it.”

Here is a statement from the marina Friday morning, explaining all marina employees are safe and that an investigation into the cause is underway:

“A fire occurred this morning at Safe Harbor Toledo Beach in LaSalle, Michigan. We are relieved that all of our employees are safe and we are aware of no injuries.

Our leadership team is at the property managing the situation. We are working closely with first responders and have initiated an investigation into the cause.

As soon as we have more information, we will reach out to affected members.”

James Phyfe, Chief Resource Officer, Safe Harbor Marinas

The American Red Cross and Salvation Army have been called in to help make sure fire crews are being monitored for exhaustion or fatigue.

Monroe County Emergency Manager Mark Hammond said there have been no injuries reported, but hundreds, if not more, boats have been damaged or destroyed by the fire. Dozens of firefighters have responded.

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.