Investigations Continue Into Mysterious Fires At State Park | Connecticut Public Radio

Investigations Continue Into Mysterious Fires At State Park

Mar 25, 2019

Officials are tightening security and opening up the state’s arson hotline following a series of fires at Silver Sands state park in Milford.

Early last week, fire destroyed three buildings under construction at the beach. Investigations into the cause of those fires are ongoing.

On Sunday, more fires broke out, this time in metal storage containers at the beach. In a statement, officials from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said those container fires were intentionally set.

“EnCon Police have increased patrols at the park. At this time there is no information concerning a connection between this morning’s incident and last Tuesday’s fire at the park that destroyed three buildings under construction,” said DEEP’s Lee Sawyer, in an e-mailed statement Sunday.

“I was woken up yesterday morning to a report that there was another fire,” said Kim Rose, a state representative for Milford, who visited the park after both fires. “I’m just thankful, again, that no one got hurt.”

Rose said the weeklong-series of fires at Silver Sands come following years of debate over a controversial state decision to bond $9.1 million to renovate the beach. “Which many, many of my constituents were not in favor of,” Rose said. “We felt, number one, bonding $9.1 million was a luxury. It was not anything that was necessary at the park.”

Rose said Silver Sands often reached maximum capacity on weekends with “with park attendees overflowing into our local beaches and streets.”

The containers that caught fire Sunday were part of the construction for the project to build a bathhouse, concessions stand, and office space.

They were scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend.

At Silver Sands, three main buildings were impacted by the recent fires.
Credit Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Rose said she’s surveyed the damage and any decisions to rebuild could take time.

“The main damage was the buildings. It was just horrible, the middle building was completely burnt down. All that was standing were charred remnants of some of the framing,” Rose said.

She said even some of the sand dunes burnt. “It was a very hot fire,” Rose said.

DEEP officials say anyone with information is asked to call the Connecticut Arson Hotline at 1-800-84-ARSON. There is a $2,500 reward.

This report contains information from the Associated Press.