MIAMI (CBSMiami) – And then there were six. Only six homes now remain in South Florida’s iconic Stiltsville following a fire which destroyed one of the seven remaining homes built atop stilts in Biscayne Bay.
Miami Fire Rescue crews responded to the Stiltsville house fire just before 7:15 a.m. on Monday.
“Our Fireboat 25 made their way out onto the water and when they arrived, they found the house fully engulfed in flames,” explained Miami-Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez.
WATCH: Miami-Fire Rescue Battles Stiltsville House Fire
“They used master streams to help extinguish the fire, at the same time coordinating an operation with their fire boat operator to be able to keep himself within a safe distance of the fire, not to be overcome by smoke or flames because of the heavy winds and currents.”
Within 10 minutes, the fire was under control.
Fire crews stated that there was no sign of anyone in and or around the home at the time. There were no boats docked and a 360-degree search was clear for any possible victims in the water.
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Fireboat 25 was on the scene with the United States Coast Guard, Miami Dade County Fire, Key Biscayne PD and Miami Dade PD standing by.
Investigators will try to determine the cause of the fire.
Stiltsville is a famous landmark in South Florida only accessible by boat. The homes are on wood or reinforced concrete pilings in the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay.
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Its history goes back to the 1930s when a man named “Crawfish Eddie Walker” built the first shack on stilts above the water. After the first shack went up, others followed. By 1960, there were 27 houses in Stiltsville.
But Hurricane Betsy destroyed many of the structures in 1965 and by early 1992 there were only 14 left. Then came Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed 7 more.
No more construction is allowed so the loss of this Stiltsville structure by fire, leaves only six.
Nobody actually lives in Stiltsville. The owners are called “caretakers” and they can’t add on to the houses, only improve and fix them.
The water where Stiltsville is located is currently part of Biscayne National Park and public access is by permit only.