News Release

Fire Island Watch Hill Restaurant Structure Fire Serious Accident Investigation Factual Report

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Date: January 29, 2021
Contact: Alexcy Romero
Contact: Jason Pristupa

OnWednesday, September 4, 2019, a fire occurred in theWatch Hill restaurant at the Fire Island National Seashore, located near Patchogue, New York. No injuries were reported and the majority of the fire was contained to the snack bar, kitchen, mechanical room and public restrooms, along with the adjacent attic area. Smoke damage occurred throughout the structure along with damage related to firefighter suppression efforts and overhaul.1 The Watch Hill restaurant contained the restaurant, outside canopy dining area, outside bar, snack bar, and public restrooms. At the time of the fire, the restaurant was closed for the day. The fire was detected by a boater that was in a slip adjacent to the west side of the restaurant. The boater notified 911 at 1:38 AM. The Davis Park Fire and mutual aid fire departments were dispatched one minute later and responded to the park. At 1:45 AM flames were reported to be through the roof and 20 feet in height. The Davis Park and Patchogue fire departments arrived at 2:02 AM. The fire was extinguished at 3:41 AM. The Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) and the National Park Service (NPS) investigation into the origin and cause of the fire was inconclusive, however there did not appear to be any indications of an intentionally-caused fire. Accidental causes of the fire were considered, including water heater malfunction or careless discard of smoking materials. The total dollar amount of the loss for the NPS and concessioner property is unknown at this time. The building has a replacement value of 1.2 million dollars as recorded in FMSS and is determined to be a total loss. The area of the origin of the fire was determined to be the south wall of the women’s restroom, adjacent to the water heater in the mechanical room. It could not be determined which side of the wall the fire started on. All other potential accidental fire causes where eliminated. There were no indications of an incendiary fire cause. The fire cause determination is undetermined. The fire classification is accidental. To read the entire report, click here.

Last updated: January 29, 2021

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