Mayor wants Long Beach cottages demolished

Stratford Mayor Jim Miron has called for the demolition of remaining vacant cottages on the news four were intentionally destroyed by arson over the weekend.This

STRATFORD - Stratford Mayor Jim Miron has called for the demolition of remaining vacant cottages on the news four were intentionally destroyed by arson over the weekend.

This is not the first suspected case of arson at the abandoned beachfront area. Last year, three cottages were set on fire by a suspected arsonist. There are about three dozen dilapidated cottages on Long Beach.

Police have blocked off the area as they investigate.

Long Beach has been closed to the public for more than 10 years. A bridge to the mainland burned down in 1996.

Stratford voted in November to sell the beach to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Federal and Stratford officials are looking at ways to fund the demolition, including using money from the stimulus package.

"Removing the cottages is harder than people might think," says Miron. "There is a cost associated to the demolition of the cottages. Second, all the equipment is going to have to come from a barge because [there] is a federal protected species that nest out here."

The island's isolation also posed a problem to Bridgeport firefighters trying to squelch the fires. Firefighters had to reach the area by boat and needed to deal with a lack of utilities at the scene. The four cottages burned for nearly eight hours before firefighters could put out the blaze.

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