Historic Block Island hotel damaged in blaze will be torn down; cause under investigation

The historic Rhode Island hotel ravaged by a fire last weekend is a total loss that will be torn down, authorities said Wednesday.

The Harborside Inn on Block Island was severely damaged in a blaze that started late last Friday night and lasted well into Saturday morning. Guests were evacuated and there were no reports of serious injuries.

The exact cause remains under investigation, but authorities said they think it started in the ground floor kitchen.

Opened in 1879, the hotel on the National Register of Historic Places is in the heart of the resort island's business district.

New Shoreham town officials and hotel ownership met with a demolition company on Wednesday.

The damaged building, including a collapsed roof, has been deemed a hazard and is fenced off. Town officials said demolition is expected to start the week of Sept. 11 and take about five days.

About 50 firefighters, some of whom had to be flown or shipped in from the mainland, helped battle the blaze at the 36-room hotel.

Block Island Reservations, which owns the hotel, thanked the firefighters and everyone who helped during and in the days following the fire.

“Unfortunately, it is evident that with the damages done to the building Harborside Inn has closed its doors with the iconic history and memories to be remembered and cherished," the company posted on its website.



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