By Stephen J. Kotz
Firefighters from numerous East End departments are battling a heavy blaze in the heart of downtown Sag Harbor. Dispatchers reported a fire at 78 Main Street, the address of the Sag Town coffee shop, at about 6:30 a.m.
The fire was reported as a deck fire, but soon spread to the Sag Harbor Cinema building, Collette, Matta, Compass Real Estate and Brown Harris Stevens Real Estate. The fire is reported to have been contained, but firefighters said there are still small pockets of flames in multiple buildings. Firefighters said they are having trouble getting to second floor apartments above Compass, which is between the Sag Harbor Cinema and Collette and Mata.
Main Street remains closed between Bay and Union streets. Heavy smoke, black and acrid early, but light gray now, is drifting eastward over the village as firefighters, working from aerial trucks and at ground level from Main Street and Meadow Street, douse the buildings with water.
Shane Dyckman, the owner of Sag Town Coffee and a member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department, was on the scene Friday and was overheard telling Sam Panton, who owns Terra Design in the building next door, that Mr. Panton’s building was safe but that the Sag Town building was “gone.”
“The movie, our gallery, all the shops behind, and next door are definitely ruined, if not by fire, by horrible and thick smoke damage,” Richard Demato, the owner of RJD Gallery, which is next door to the Sag Harbor Cinema, said in an email.
“The firemen are amazing, even across the street, the smoke choked me to take images,” he added. “The firemen on the high water ladders were encased with smoke on and off, risking their lives to save the village and God forbid, the fire getting to the hardware store!”
Residents of apartments above the retail stores on the west side of Main Street have been evacuated.
Shortly after the fire was reported, the Sag Harbor Fire Department was calling for help. Units from Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Southampton, North Sea, Amagansett, Montauk, Shelter Island, and East Quogue were at the scene. Members of the Flanders Fire Department were on standby at Sag Harbor’s main firehouse on Brick Kiln Road.
Water and vapor from firefighters’ hoses was freezing quickly, coating much of Main Street, with a thin layer of ice. Volunteers used rock salt and other de-icers to improve firefighters’ footing.
“I feel bad for them,” said Jody Jones, an instructor at Uptown Pilates on Bridge Street. “I should bake them cookies.”