Fire Island Pines Fire Update: 'It is an unfathomable moment'

11.15.2011

By Adam Rathe

Fire Island developer Andrew Kirtzman speaks out about the fire that has ravaged the Pines

Monday night, a fire ravaged a number of shops and clubs, as well as at least one home, in Fire Island Pines; the damage is serious. According to a statement from developer Andrew Kirtzman—the New York Times dubbed him “the unofficial mayor of Fire Island Pines”—things are bad, but with an eye on the not-really-so-far-off summer 2012 season, the powers that be behind the Pines will begin to rebuild.

Kirtzman’s statement reads:

“Both the Pavilion and LaFountaine buildings are still standing, but they have been completely gutted by fire and water. Sip N' Twirl, the Bistro and the stores below them are in ruin. The roof over the Pavilion is gone, and the high tea deck has been destroyed. Small fires are still burning inside the Pavilion—the dance floor—and it's too dangerous for firefighters to enter inside.

The department has called for bulldozers to be brought here from across the bay, as it may be safer to destroy the Pavilion altogether rather than fight the remaining blazes. It is an unfathomable moment.

The air in the harbor is still thick with smoke, but the fire has not spread anywhere else, thanks to the incredible work of the Pines Fire Department and the departments that raced to its aid. Firefighters will be here through the night to ensure that no flames re-ignite and create a new threat to the other properties.

Canteen, Blue Whale, the hotel and Pantry are all fine. The Suffolk Country Fire Department believes the fire began outside the LaFountaine office, engulfed that building and then spread to the Pavilion. Officials tell me they don't believe the fire to be suspicious.

Seth, Matt and I want to thank you all for your notes and phone calls. Everyone has a stake in these properties, and the love and passion we all feel for them are ringing loud and clearly this painful evening.

Tomorrow morning, Seth, Matt and I will begin the process of renewing this beautiful property and making it even more spectacular than it was before. Our hearts go out to Nicole LaFountaine, Patrick, PJ, Bob Howard and others in the LaFountaine building, and we will help one another get the commercial district ready for summer 2012.

There is a lot of hard work ahead for all of us. We feel blessed that no one was injured, and proud to be part of this beautiful community.”

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