Leshaw Home destroyed in fire, leaving only 6 in Stiltsville

Authorities responded to a home in Stiltsville, west of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, that caught fire Monday morning.

MIAMI – Authorities responded to a home in Stiltsville, west of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, that caught fire Monday morning.

Sky 10 was over the scene shortly before 8 a.m. as smoke was still coming from the structure.

City of Miami firefighters were seen spraying the home, known as the Leshaw House, with water and Coral Gables police boats and Key Biscayne police boats were also at the scene.

Authorities said no one was hurt as a result of the fire.

“We were able to speak with one of the caretakers who states the house was not occupied at the time, so there were no injures luckily,” said Lt. Pete Sanchez with MaimI Fire Rescue. “It was a mainly wood structure with concrete pillars so that will cause it to ignite rather quickly and burn rather intensely.”

The owner of one of the homes nearby told Local 10 she believed someone was there Sunday night and possibly Monday morning.

Laura Roberts told Local 10 News reporter Parker Branton that she came out with her binoculars to make sure the fire didn’t erupt at the stilt home that has been in her family for 47 years.

“It was very scary. Obviously fearful it could be ours. They are all wood and could go up any day now,” she said.

Roberts said her family spends many weekends at the Hicks House -- one of the remaining Stiltsvillle homes.

“Before Hurricane Andrew, there were 25, I believe, and unfortunately after the hurricane only seven remained,” she said.

Due to Monday’s fire, that number is now down to six.

Historic home in Stiltsville destroyed in fire

According to the National Park Service, Stiltsville dates back to the 1930s and at its peak in the 1960s, Stiltsville was home to 27 structures out on the water. Many of those structures were short-lived due to hurricanes, fires and other issues.

The cause of Monday’s fire is under investigation.

Branton spoke off camera to one of the owners of the Leshaw House, who said she is upset by what occurred and just hopes to find out what happened.

The Stiltsville Trust was established in 2003, giving those who have usage rights the opportunity to rehabilitate the structure, but not rebuild.

Owners who spoke with Branton Monday said the Leshaw House will not be approved for rebuilding given that it is a total loss. They said either the National Park Service or those who have the usage rights will have to pay to go out and remove the concrete piling and wood stilts.

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About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.