STRATFORD - A massive fire broke out at a cottage on the shore of Stratford Thursday afternoon, and police say the blaze may be suspicious.

Fire crews say they had a tough time battling the flames because of the mile and a half of beach that separated the paved road from the cottage. The fire burned for hours and at one point a propane tank exploded, but nobody was injured.

Firefighters began tearing down some of the Pleasure Beach cottages that were not on fire to prevent embers from igniting them. Four of the town-owned cottages were destroyed.

Stratford Mayor Jim Miron says the recent controversy over what to do with the land had nothing to do with the fire. The cottages have been vacant for some time after the state Supreme Court sided with the town in an eviction battle with about 45 cottage owners.

A man called police before 4 p.m. after seeing the fire. He told police he saw several kids running from the building around the time it started. Police say they are hoping to talk to more people who may have seen suspicious activity.