Fierce winds fueled a massive fire that destroyed seven cabins at Grand Bear Resort near Starved Rock State Park in North Utica on Memorial Day, according to authorities.
Firefighters with the Utica Fire Protection District first responded to the resort at approximately 5:23 p.m. in regard to a fully-involved porch fire at a cabin on the property, according to Utica Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Chief Drew Partain. By the time firefighters arrived, which was approximately 10 minutes after the initial call, two cabins had already been engulfed in flames. In all, seven cabins were destroyed in the fire.
Photos posted to social media showed several cabins at the resort had erupted into flames, with clouds of smoke pouring from the buildings. A total of 57 fire departments to the scene and assisted with extinguishing the fire, according to Partain.
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Fire officials advised people to avoid the area and yield to emergency vehicles as firefighting efforts remained underway in the hours following the fire.
Everyone on the property was been safely evacuated, according to a post by the Grand Bear Resort on Facebook. No injuries were reported.
"At this time, the lodge, the waterpark and a majority of the cabins and villas on site have not been affected," the post read. "We sincerely appreciate the outpouring of support and concern from the community."
As of Monday evening, the fire was contained and in overhaul stages, but not under control. Fire crews were expected to remain on scene throughout the night to put out hot spots, Partain said. The American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist those displaced by the fire.
This is the second major fire at the resort in four years.