Weekend Fire Destroys Lake Hayward Pavilion

Three fire departments were called in to assist in the fire that caused the pavilion to burn to the ground.


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.

rychyrd September 24, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I enjoyed the little history blurb at the end of this article. Is this a new feature or did I just notice it?
Wendy Vincent September 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM
When I was researching the pavilion, I came across it and thought it would be interesting to include in the article. I did not, however, find the history of the pavilion itself. If anyone knows the history, please share it. Thank you!
Laurie September 24, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I thought they put in cameras so this wouldn't happen???
Barbi Batchelder September 24, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Hi Laurie...we're waiting for the Fire Marshal's final report, which is still unavailable at this time, to see what he will determine to be the actual "cause" of the fire. Keep checking in with Patch, and we'll let you know as soon as we're able to confirm.
Marlene September 24, 2012 at 03:19 AM
I don't really know the history of the pavilion but when I was a kid I remember it being more of a closed in structure. I believe they tore that down to make the open air pavilion due to the fact that kids were getting inside and doing things they shouldn't. This way everyone was out in the open. I think it was early 80's.
Observor September 24, 2012 at 06:25 AM
A camera, Laurie, is only of use in fire prevention if someone is looking at the live feed. It might be useful in catching an arsonist after the fact, but if the arsonist didn't know about the camera, didn't care or felt he took sufficient precautions, e.g. a mask like the guys who broke into Fox Hopyard, you're still going to lose the structure.
Forestthroughthetrees September 24, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Wendy, Jaz J Smith originally developed the lake with the idea that it would appeal to summer vacationers from NYC. The Paviliion was originally a beach club house that held a small restaurant (1930-1950 or so). Around 1980 the walls were removed and then around 1995 the original structure was taken down and the pavilion on a slab was put into place. Quite a bit of history to the area including the GoodYear connection!
Wendy Vincent September 24, 2012 at 06:16 PM
That's great information. Thank you! :) I'm going to try to pull together an article on the history of the pavilion and the lake. Are locals the best source of information? There doesn't seem to be much online.
lakegirl77 September 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Go to lake hayward properties, they have the full history there
Terri Nicholas September 29, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Hi I am Terri Nicholas!!! My sister is Linda Abel and my Brother is Dave James. I have tons of history about the Lake. Feel free to call me 860 836 2317 or email me. terri_nicholas@hotmail.com Our Family has been at the lake over 65 years. Our Dad Donald James went camping there when he was a young boy. Our cottage is on Lookout.The pavilion was built in 1990. My late husband George drew the plans . He designed the pavilion. I believe I still have the plans. I have tons of history to share. My Dad recorded history of the lake before he died and I know my sister and brother would agree to share this info. We can tell you about the former clubhouse before the pavilion and just so much!!!!!!! I was saddened when my Sister called to tell me about the fire. I look forward to hearing from you and I will have lots and lots of history and wonderful memories to share. love Terri James Nicholas!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »