LASALLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A fire Friday destroyed an enormous building loaded with hundreds of boats stored for the winter in southeastern Michigan, sending smoke for miles along Lake Erie.
Neighbors and boat owners rushed to get as close as possible to Toledo Beach Marina. Aerial video showed clouds of black smoke and a building overwhelmed by flames. The roof collapsed, though no injuries were reported.
“I'm a nervous wreck,” boat owner Jason Pryba told WDIV-TV.
Asked about the number of boats inside, Monroe County emergency manager Mark Hammond said, “Hundreds would be an understatement.”
The 420-slip marina is in LaSalle Township, a few miles south of Monroe and just north of the Ohio border.
“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," the marina's owner said in a written statement.
Ronni Wolfe, who has a boat in an adjacent building, said her phone was “going crazy” about 6:45 a.m.
“It’s things, not people,” Wolfe said at the scene. “There’s much worse going on out there. We’re grateful we didn’t have a loved one or something irreplaceable on it.”
Marina employee Tony Caruso said he waxes boats between seasons.
“This is all my winter work up in flames,” he said.