Update on Nov. 15 at 5:29 p.m. ET: Fire Island Pines Fire 'All Contained'
A fast-moving fire in Fire Island Pines destroyed several business and at least two private homes but caused no injuries, authorities have told the media.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko told The Associated Press that two large structures that house nightclubs and restaurants were still burning shortly before noon on Tuesday. Two homes also caught fire from flying embers, resulting from the fires that broke out around 9:15 p.m. on Monday.
Lesko also told The AP that much of the downtown area of Fire Island Pines has been destroyed and that the cause of the fire is unknown. Arson investigators are currently at the scene, Lesko said.
Fire Island's The News reported that 300 firefighters from 31 departments responded to the blaze and that it was the largest response to a fire on Long Island since the Sunrise Fire scorched thousands of acres of pine barrens in 1995.
Fire Island Pines is one of many communities along the vacation hotspot south of Long Island.
There was lots of smoke, lots of fire, lots of everything, Ocean Beach Fire Department spokesperson Ian Levine told The News.
Firefighters continue to douse the fire some 14 hours after it was reported. Thick smoke continues to envelop the harbor and bulldozers are expected to demolish the remainder of the properties later on Tuesday, The News reported.
According to The News, the blaze quickly engulfed the Pavilion, C.F. LaFountaine, Sip N' Twirl, the Pines Bistro and a bay front home.
Newsday reported that the fire was still not under control more than two hours after the fire was reported.
According to towleroad.com, Andrew Kirtzman along with Seth Weissman and Matthew Blesso own the properties in the area.
Kirtzman released a statement via Facebook noting that it is was a very difficult night for all of them.
Towleroad.com reported that Kirtzman's Facebook post read:
I am outside the Pavilion building, surrounded by over 100 firefighters from across Long Island. The fire is under control but is not completely out.
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. Then 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.