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Nov 7, 2012 10:11 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Blaze At Sea Crest Motel In Napeague Quickly Brought Under Control

Nov 13, 2012 5:38 PM

Firefighters from Amagansett, Montauk, East Hampton and Springs knocked down a fire at the Sea Crest resort on Napeague on the morning of November 7, despite gusts and frigid rain from the nor’easter that was just arriving. The blaze, which was in the St. Tropez building, was confined to four units at the west end of the building. Two people were living in the building, in a different apartment. They escaped without injury, although a firefighter from the Montauk Fire Department who had chest pains was taken by Amagansett ambulance to Southampton Hospital, and from there to Stony Brook University Hospital.

Amagansett Fire Chief P.J. Cantwell said one of the calls came from Britton Bistrian, who, with her husband, John Emptage, is a member of the department and lives across the street from the resort. Their daughter, Clemens, who is almost 3, told them, “Mommy, Daddy, I see fire,” the chief said, and Ms. Bistrian called 911 while Mr. Emptage went off to the Sea Crest. Rosalind Slezak, who has an apartment in the nearby Rapallo building at the resort, also called in the fire, according to Khrista Saffran, who was in her apartment at Unit 68 in St. Tropez when the calls came in to the Amagansett Fire Department at about 7:15 a.m.

Ms. Saffran said that starting at about 6 or 6:30 a.m., she smelled what seemed to be an electrical fire “in pockets” and unplugged all her appliances. Opening the door to her deck, which looks out to the ocean, she saw what at first appeared to be gray fog, then realized it was smoke. She screamed out to a friend who was visiting, Rita Scarfone, to get dressed and get out. “The flames were so tall,” Ms. Saffran said, and as the wind shifted back and forth she believed they would spread much farther.

Firefighters had already arrived on the scene and one was on the way up to her unit. “We came out like Cabbage Patch people,” Ms. Scarfone said later over breakfast at John’s Pancake House in Montauk, where she and her friend had gone to warm up and regroup after leaving her apartment. After that, they planned to retrieve their belongings and head out of town. They both live in New York City, although Ms. Scarfone, who used to have a house in Springs, planned to stop first in Center Moriches to check on a relative who’d lost power during the recent storms. Ms. Saffran, who has rented and then owned her unit for about 30 years, spending many winters virtually alone at the resort, expressed regret that she would be unlikely to use it this winter.

According to Chief Cantwell, about 35 to 40 Amagansett volunteers responded to the fire, along with the Montauk and East Hampton departments, each of which brought a ladder truck and assisted with roof operations, and Springs, which stood by at the Amagansett Firehouse until the fire was brought under control. All told, there were perhaps 75 or 80 volunteers at the scene, the chief said.

“Our guys made a quick, aggressive attack and knocked the fire down quickly,” Chief Cantwell said. “They did a fabulous job.”

Some of the firefighters had to work in a crawl space under the building, which is set on pilings, where it was difficult for them to move around. The responders waited for some time for someone from the Long Island Power Authority to come to cut power to the building, although eventually they managed to reach someone at LIPA’s staging area at the East Hampton Airport.

“The fire itself was under control fairly quickly, considering how extensive it was,” the chief said, but the volunteers stayed at the site “because any little ember can ignite in that kind of wind.” They left the scene at about 11:15 a.m., by which time “we were pretty well soaked,” Chief Cantwell said.

Ms. Saffran said one firefighter told her the cause of the fire had been electrical. “It’s not a tragedy,” Ms. Saffran said. “As fires go, we were extremely lucky.”

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Thank you volunteer's . Hope your guy gets out of the hospital and he is ok..
By 5-0 (44), Montauk Point on Nov 7, 12 2:32 PM