Fire Island Landmark Destroyed in Blaze: Officials

Several buildings, including a well-known boardwalk landmark, were destroyed in a blaze on Fire Island early Friday, officials say.

The blaze broke out at Bayview and Holly walks in Cherry Grove at about 1:30 a.m., Suffolk County police say. When firefighters arrived, several buildings were engulfed, including the Grove Hotel.

"It's heartbreaking. It was a love, not just a hotel," said Frank Liguori, the owner of Grove Hotel, a 50-year fixture that was just preparing for a May 1 reopening.

Two other homes and the Holly House apartment complex were also destroyed. None of the structures or homes was occupied in the primarily summer beach community.

The blaze broke out in the apartment complex, officials say.

Iconic area nightclub Ice Palace was spared from the flames. Year-round resident Jeffrie McClean said he grabbed a firehose to help save it.

"That's the first place I worked back in 1982," he said. "It's the heart of the community." 

Cherry Grove Assistant Fire Chief Craig Williams says three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze.

Williams says dozens of firefighters from 22 departments responded to the blaze. Some were taken to the scene by the Sayville Ferry Service. 

The fire was under control by 4:30 a.m.

"There was significant damage done, of course. But it could have been much worse if not for the work of these incredible volunteers," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. 

Arson detectives were investigating the blaze, police say.

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