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UPDATE: Fire Damages At Least 4 Condos at Sea Crest

Four fire departments fight blaze on Wednesday morning; one firefighter taken to hospital.

Update, 12:20 p.m.: Though firefighters made a quick stop on the fire at the Sea Crest oceanfront resort in Amagansett on Wednesday morning, flames heavily damaged four condos on the first and second floors, according to Amagansett Fire Department Chief PJ Cantwell.

One firefighter, a volunteer with the Montauk Fire Department, complained of chest pains and was transportedat to Southampton Hospital, at about 8 a.m., Cantwell said. 

Montauk's Second Assistant Chief Dutch Riege, who was one of the first on scene at the fire, said the firefighter was stabalized and transported to Stony Brook University Medical Center. 

"Our guys made an excellent attack, fairly quickly," Cantwell said of the blaze, which he said caused extensive damage to two first floor and two second floor units in the Saint-Tropez building in the complex. A few neighboring units have water and smoke damage, but Cantwell was not sure of the extent.

The fire was reported at about 7:15 a.m.

Cantwell said two Amagansett firefighters, Jack Emptage and Britton Bistrian, live across from the Sea Crest, and their young daughter actually was the first to notice the smoke and alert her parents. Cantwell said before he even drove off his street on his way to the reported structure fire, Bistrian confirmed flames were shooting through the roof, while Emptage headed to the building to see if there was anyone inside — there were two ladies at the opposite end of the building.

Riege, who was driving by on his way to East Hampton, where he works as a town ordinance inspector, saw the fire from Montauk Highway, and went into the complex. He and Emptage helped evacuate the women, Cantwell said.

Cantwell said having those firefighters on scene so quickly helped him make some fast decisions, such as calling for mutual aid from the Montauk and East Hampton fire departments. A Montauk chief got to the scene quickly, too, he said.

Firefighters, about 75 in total, started dousing the flames were water from a hydrant that is located on the property, and then also hooked up to a main that's located along Montauk Highway, Cantwell said.

"We made such a great stop, the Montauk ladder truck wasn't needed," he said. The East Hampton ladder truck was used during "overhaul," as firefighters searched for pockets of fire under debris.

One issue, Cantwell noted, was that the electrical panels were located on the west side of building, where the fire occurred. So even after the flames were extinguished, more fires started until power to the building was shut off. "It took LIPA quite a while to get on scene," he said of the Long Island Power Authority, which has been extremely busy since Hurricane Sandy. Power wasn't shut off until after 9 a.m.

The Springs Fire Department stood by at Amagansett's firehouse until the fire was knocked down. Cantwell said the personnel then helped with overhaul at Sea Crest.

The weather did not affect the fire or firefighting, Cantwell said. It was just starting to drizzle at the height of the blaze. The wind kicked up while they were there, but it not affect the fire, he said.

The departments all went back in service at about 11:15 a.m. The East Hampton Town Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause of the fire.

Previously: Three fire departments fought a fire at Sea Crest, an oceanfront co-op and hotel, off the Napeague Stretch in Amagansett on Wednesday morning.

The blaze damaged at least two of the units in the Saint-Tropez building on the east side of the complex.

One firefighter was transported to Southampton Hospital, but his ailment and condition was not immediately known.

The fire was knocked down just after 8 a.m., but firefighters remained on scene to look for hot-spots, or pockets of fire, as weather conditions worsened with the expected Nor'easter beginning to roll in.

The Amagansett Fire Department received the call at about 7:15 a.m., and the chiefs called in the Montauk Fire Department and East Hampton Fire Department for assistance. They used a ladder truck to shoot water on the building.

The chiefs were not immediately available for comment.

Rosalind Slezak, a resident of another building at Seacrest, said she called 911 when she saw flames shooting out of the Saint Tropez building. According to residents, it was units 60 and 61.

Krista Saffran, the owner of unit 68, was one of the few people in the complex this time of year. She had arrived last night with a friend to check on her car after the hurricane.

She said she smelled smoke, starting at about 6:30 a.m., but it would come and go, though she noticed the television wasn't working. She didn't hear any smoke alarms going off.

And then about 45 minutes later, "I opened the front door, and I saw smoke and I thought it was fog," she said. Firefighters soon arrived to evacuate them. She said she screamed to her friend, who was still sleeping, "Get dressed, get dressed, there's a fire."

When they got downstairs, they saw the flames, but they still weren't sure how far the fire had spread. "They were huge," Saffran said. "The flames were shooting a building high," she said. The wind was going east at first and the smoke was everywhere. "I thought it was at least half the building gone already."

She called the owners to break the bad news.

Saffran said she was thankful the fire seemed to have spread slowly. "Thank god, if that had been wood, it would have been gone."


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