UPDATE: Massive fire tears through popular Berrien County resort

Five guest cabins were destroyed in a large blaze at the Pottawattamie Resort in Coloma Sunday night.

The fire started shortly after 6 p.m.

Firefighters say a guest in one of the cabins heard a crackling noise before seeing large flames break out in the building.

The resident attempted to put the blaze out with several pans of water, but was unsuccessful. That's when he called for help.

At least seven fire departments responded.

"On our arrival, one of the cabins was totally engulfed," said Captain Stuart Thurlow with North Berrien Fire Rescue. "As we pulled up, the wind was blowing. And, the fire just spread from one cabin to the next."

The cabins were up on cinder blocks, posing a challenge to firefighters.

Embers from the blaze blew under the cabins, catching dry leaves on fire and producing large flames.

"We had cabins on the north side also catch fire probably 200 yards away," Thurlow said. "And, we had to send crews over there to put those out. So, it was an ongoing battle tonight."

Responders also had problems getting water to the cabins because of the lack of fire hydrants.

Despite those issues, they were able to save one of the six buildings that went up in flames.

There were also no major injuries.

"This could have been a real nightmare," Thurlow said. "First thing we did was go door-to-door and make sure everyone was out."

Thurlow says the guest staying in the cabin where the fire started has minor burns on his arms.

One firefighter was also sent to the hospital as a precaution because of smoke inhalation. He's expected to be OK.

The resort, which is situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, has been a staple point in the community since the early 1900's.

According to its website, the Pottawattamie Resort was bought out by a new owner in 2006.

During the last six years, the resort has undergone major renovations, all to restore Pottawattamie to its original beauty, while maintaining it as a staple point in Southwest Michigan.


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