Streams

Massive Blaze in Fire Island Pines Destroys Commercial District

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A devastating blaze in Fire Island Pines that took hundreds of firefighters nearly a day to bring under control destroyed most of the resort's summer businesses.

Fire Commissioner Joe Geiman said 400 firefighters from roughly 43 fire departments on Long Island responded to the blaze, which broke out on Monday night and wasn't brought under control until late Tuesday.

"It was probably one of the largest responses in Suffolk County since the wildfires of '95," Geiman said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Geiman said it spread quickly when propane cylinders housed under an enclosure outside a gasoline supplier ignited and flames engulfed the Pines' two largest buildings.

"This is the heart of our community, this is the bread and butter of the Pines, you know, this is what people come out here for," he said. "We've lost, I think, 13 out of our 18 businesses in town. So the entire commercial district basically is gone."

Those businesses include the entire Pavilion nightclub, restaurants, a bar, real estate offices and a clothing store. Geiman said drifting embers from the fire also caused damage to a house across the harbor.

Geiman said spot fires from the rubble of the mostly demolished buildings were still breaking out intermittently on Wednesday.

He said investigators don't believe the cause of the fire to be suspicious.

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