VIDEO: Fire Ravages Misquamicut Beach Facility UPDATED
Saturday, October 20, 2018
The facility at Misquamicut Beach in Westerly, Rhode Island caught fire on Friday afternoon just after 4 p.m.
Fire trucks were there within minutes of the fire starting. The beach is the most visited with over 340,000 annually -- and it is estimated by state officials that more than 75 percent of the visitors are from out-of-state.
It is unclear at this time how the fire started.
Misquamicut Beach is one of Rhode Island's state beaches, and is overseen by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
"The fire was contained to the concession area of the pavilion," said Mike Healey with DEM, who said the agency was first made aware shortly after 4 pm on Friday. "We don't know how much damage that's going to be."
Healey said there were no reports of injuries.
"The Westerly Police Department told us there is evidence of arson," said Healey. "As far as our position, it's wait and see. You hope that the evidence is wrong and it was an accident. But if it's arson, we'll assist law enforcement." Later on Friday night, local and state officials were less sure of the cause of the fire.
"Misquamicut beach is out biggest [state] oceanfront beach. It's a half mile -- it's our busiest beach. It's a really busy place in the summer," said Healey.
About Misquamicut Beach
About Misquamicut Beach, the State of Rhode Island Division of Parks and Recreation writes the following on their website:
Misquamicut has always enjoyed a summer population balanced by Westerly area locals and large influxes of Connecticut residents. One of the state's most popular beaches with over a half mile of beach front, there are also many local attractions for children. This modern pavilion includes many new features including rails, outside showers, and composting toilets. This beach does fill to capacity during sunny summer weekends.
This story was first published 10/19/18 4:35 PM It was updated at 4:20 AM on 10/20/18.
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