Grill may be cause of Berrien County fire - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Residents react to Pottawattamie Resort fire

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Courtesy: N. Berrien Fire and Rescue Courtesy: N. Berrien Fire and Rescue

John Riccio grew up down the road from Pottawattamie Resort and says this was the place to be, before it looked like this.

"It was a special area. They had a big deal going there, they had dancing which I loved on Friday nights."

But Sunday's fire wiped out six of seven cabins.

"It is sad. That was the biggest resort in this whole section of Benton Harbor," says Riccio.

Manager Erica Friedman lives in one of the cabins that burned down. She was getting ready for dinner when she heard screaming and went out to see fire among the cabins spreading. Hers was next.

"It's heartbreaking, everything I own is gone," says Friedman.

Northern Berrien Fire Rescue was at the scene and they say investigators determined the fire was accidental. A resort employee occupied one of the cabins and was grilling out Sunday night when leaves caught fire. And from there, Friedman says things happened fast.

"The winds just picked up and blew everything down that way."

The Fire Department says dry leaves and high winds spread the fire to surrounding cabins, causing a scene that owner Gary Danno says was hard to take it.

"You know it was just a pain in the gut, in my stomach, actually tears kinda came to my eyes, so pretty devastating."

But he says this is not the end of Pottawattamie Resort.

"There's people who have been coming up here from generation to generation and taking the same units every year. So if we don't get them rebuilt, we're going to have a lot of disappointed people."

Which is why he says his insurance is looking at the place, so he can rebuild and get Pottawattamie Resort back.

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