Village of Fife Lake Cleaning up Beach After Hundred Year Old Debris Resurfaces

A family’s dangerous discovery on a beach has a local village cleaning up.

Sunday afternoon, Samantha Smith and her family were heading to the water.

When they started playing in the sand at the beach in the Village of Fife Lake, they found some dangerous debris.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson looked into where the debris likely came from.

“I was definitely surprised. It’s not what you expect to see when you go to the beach,” says Samantha Smith.

Samantha Smith says when she came down to the beach in Fife Lake on Sunday, she discovered something she’s never seen here before.

“My sister started finding some pieces of glass so she picked them up and we noticed there was some more stuff scattered throughout,” Smith says.

What they found was a beach cluttered with glass, tile, railroad spikes, drywall, and sheets of metal.

“Random stuff definitely. At first we thought maybe somebody had just broke a bottle, pushed it to the side and didn’t pick it up, but pretty quickly we realized there was something else going on,” Smith says.

Village President David McGough came down to the beach Sunday evening after he heard about the debris.

“I was surprised to see that much,” McGough says.

About a month ago, the village installed a new wooden retaining wall along the sidewalk.

“You disturb the soil and what’s in there, kind of gets mixed in with the sand, and unfortunately it took some time to bring it up to the surface,” McGough says.

David says the material they’ve been finding in the sand isn’t new.

“Our DPW superintendent was down here and said some of this stuff could be 150-200 years old,” says McGough.

David says the material was most likely from a 1800’s hotel and depot.

When it burned down decades ago, some remains were buried in the ground and are now resurfacing.

David says that crews will be out here every morning for the next couple of weeks combing through the sand to see whatever they can find.

“We just want to be safe and have a safe beach,” McGough says.

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