VIDEO: Fire Engulfs Fighting Island
No one was hurt but nearly 300-acres of marsh land has been decimated after a massive fire that lasted for nearly six-hours on Fighting Island last night
Calls began to pour in at LaSalle Fire and Rescue Service at around 8:30pm Saturday for the blaze which could be seen from as far away as east Windsor and Amherstburg.
The marsh-fire quickly spread due to high winds engulfing a large portion of the island directly across from the LaSalle marina.
J & J Marine assisted by transporting trucks and equipment to the island. Amherstburg fire jumped in to help contain the blaze and Windsor fire covered the town's emergencies while all hands were on deck across the Detroit River.
Chief Dave Sutton says there was no damage to any of the buildings and no one was injured on the island thanks to a team effort.
"Beyond the two services that we had here assisting I had offers of assistance from virtually everybody else in the county, all of our neighbours and the support is always fantastic. It's something we can always count on and we work very well together," he says.
Sutton says the fire got so intense at times personnel had to retreat and let flames die down before going back on the attack.
"A little nerve racking to be honest, but the crews did a fantastic job and we had great leadership over there. Our number one priority obviously was keeping all our crews safe and protecting structures, from that perspective it was certainly a win," says Sutton, who added there was more than 30 firefighters on the island at one point.
The fire is not believed to be suspicious but the exact cause remains under investigation.
"We're looking into a couple bits of information we've received but it certainly appears to be an accidental fire and there will be further investigation to see if we can determine an actual cause," he added.
Fighting Island was home to indigenous peoples and was the site of a brief skirmish during the Battle of Windsor in 1838.
It was used to dispose of industrial waste after 1918 before BASF purchased the property in recent years and rehabilitated the island — it's now used as a corporate retreat and nature area for local schools.
Sutton says parts of a boardwalk network were also consumed by the blaze.
— with files from AM800's Gord Bacon and Zander Broeckel.