Fire Island took on a literal meaning last night when a massive fire broke out near the Fire Island Pines commercial district, destroying two nightclubs and at least one home. Newsday reports that 20 fire departments, many from the mainland, were called in to help battle the blaze, while The Fire Island News puts the figure at 31. Either way, the flames were devastating, and firefighters needed more than two hours to get it under control.
The fire appears to have started near the commercial district around 9:15 p.m. Monday night, and by 11:20 p.m. had totally destroyed the Pavilion, LaFountaine, the Sip 'N Twirl complex that includes the Pines Bistro, and a bayfront home. Businesses north of the Pavilion along the harbor were unharmed. According to the News, there have been no reported injuries, but "firefighters continue to douse the fire under the Pavilion" and "thick smoke continues to envelop the harbor." "There was lots of smoke, lots of fire, lots of everything," said Ocean Beach Fire Department spokesperson Ian Levine. Towleroad has posted an emotional statement from Fire Island Pines owner Andrew Kirtzman, who promises to rebuild the property.
The harbor at Fire Island Pines will be closed until about 4 p.m. today while bulldozers and other equipment are moved in to raze two large buildings near the area of of Fire Island Pines Boulevard and Black Duck Walk, reports Newsday. Although the exact number of fire departments on the scene is unclear, it was the largest response to a fire on Long Island since 1995's Sunrise Fire in the pine barrens.