A suspicious cottage fire Tuesday at a remote location in London forced firefighters to fill pools of water to battle the blaze.

A patrolling London police officer spotted smoke billowing from a wooded area near 130 Pond Mills Rd. at Cleveland Ave. and called firefighters to the scene just before 6 p.m.

When they arrived, they found the abandoned cottage fully engulfed in flames.

The isolated location meant firefighters had to shuffle tanker trucks between a fire hydrant on the street, and then back up a tight laneway to a large yellow bulk tank.

The lack of an available water source meant firefighters were conservative with the water used to battle the blaze, said Platoon Chief Wayne Brown.

“There’s not a lot to save,” he added.

Because there was no electricity at the cottage, the fire was being treated as suspicious.

“We’ll have to have a closer look when we get (the fire) out and try and determine if it was malicious or arson,” said Brown.

While the boarded-up cottage didn’t have a significant monetary value, the fire still posed a danger for firefighters as flames tore through the roof and parts of the building collapsed.

“Every fire is equally dangerous for us,” said Brown. “We have just as much chance of one of my guys getting hurt here than at any other fire. We still have to put it out and we still have to take the risk.”

Police blocked off a section of Pond Mills with curious neighbours gathering outside the entrance to property. Thick smoke billowed from the cottage and could be seen from a distance.

A developer has bought the property with the intention to build a subdivision on the site.

via The London Free Press