A fire of unknown origin consumed the pavilion and 3 sheds on Lake Shore Drive on Lake Hayward Saturday night. According to Fire Chief Shawn Daigle of the East Haddam Fire Department, a resident of East Shore Drive reported the fire at 1:15 a.m. on Saturday morning. The resident thought the fire might be an illegal bonfire.
Salem Fire Chief Eugene Mariano was the first on scene and reported that upon arrival, the pavilion was fully engulfed in flames; it completely collapsed within 15-20 minutes of his arrival.
Three fire departments were called in to assist in the fire including East Haddam, Colchester-Hayward and Salem. The Salem/Colchester-Hayward Rapid Intervention Team was also called in to stand by.
The fire was knocked down by 2 a.m., according to Daigle. Connecticut Light and Power was called in to cut power to a nearby power line. The East Haddam Fire Department stayed on scene until 5 a.m. to monitor for any hot spots.
CT State Police arson dogs were called in to investigate the scene to search for the presence of any accelerants, which might determine if the fire had purposely been set.
There were no injuries reported at the scene and the fire is currently under investigation.
Lake Hayward is located just north of Devil’s Hopyard State Park in East Haddam, bordering Colchester and Salem. The lake was once known by the Native tribes that once inhabited the area as Long Pond. The lake has ties to the Goodyear Rubber Company and Nathaniel Hayward, who once operated a rubber mill together on the lake.
Information on the fire was provided by East Haddam Fire Chief Shawn Daigle.