A Fire in Fire Island Pines Reportedly Destroys Pavilion Complex
By Jerry Portwood
Photo courtesy of Erin Stacey Vasslailli
You may have sipped your last cocktail at the Sip N' Twirl. According to a post on the Fire Island News website, a fast-moving fire destroyed and gutted the Pavilion complex that includes the popular nightclub destination near the Fire Island Pines harbor and at least one home near the Fire Island Pines commercial district late on Monday, Nov. 14.
As Michael K. Lavers reports:
"The blaze broke out around 9:15 p.m. It quickly engulfed the Pavilion, C.F. LaFountaine, Sip N' Twirl, the Pines Bistro and a bay front home. Walter Boss of the Fire Island Pines Fire Department confirmed to The News around 11:20 p.m. ... Businesses north of the Pavilion along the harbor appear to have been unscathed."
According to reports, fire personnel are attempting to get bulldozers to the area to knock down remaining properties, while they are also continuing to put out hotspots under the complex. While house fires are a common occurrence on the island, the main problem is during the winter months when the bay is frozen over. As it was in New York City, last night was a warm, yet windy evening. Approximately 300 fire fighters responded—from the Pines, Ocean Bay Park, Davis Park, Point O' Woods, Cherry Grove, Ocean Beach, Fair Harbor, Saltaire, Kismet, East Islip, West Islip, Hagerman, Sayville, Bellport, Great River, and Bay Shore—the largest response to a fire on Long Island since the Sunrise Fire scorched thousands of acres of pine barrens in 1995.
This incident took place after many people have already packed up and winterized their homes and left for the season. Fire Island remains a thriving community for many gay and lesbian owners and renters during the spring, summer and into the fall months. The final event at the Sip N' Twirl spot took place on the weekend of Halloween, according to its Facebook page.
P.J. McAteer, owner of Sip N' Twirl, posted a comment on his Facebook page: "Please remember Fire Island Pines is more then just buildings, it is an institution, it is a community. We will survive!"
We have contacted Seth Weissman for comment. He, along with Andrew Kirtzman, run all of FIP Ventures' businesses, including the Pavilion, Blue Whale, Canteen, and others. We will update as we learn more.
For a more complete history and perspective on the harbor complex, read Steve Weinstein's post at EdgeNewYork.com.