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Ocean Bay Park blaze damages staff quarters of Fire Island Hotel and Resort

Firefighters battle a blaze that erupted in the

Firefighters battle a blaze that erupted in the employee's quarters of the Fire Island Hotel and Resort in the Fire Island community of Ocean Bay Park on Thursday, July 2, 2015. The fire in the two-story building, which is separate from the hotel, was reported at about 2:15 p.m. Credit: Ian Levine

Fire broke out Thursday afternoon in the staff quarters of the Fire Island Hotel and Resort, where one owner said his brother tried in vain to douse the flames with extinguishers.

The two-story house on Cayuga Street in Ocean Bay Park burned for more than two hours before the fire was declared under control about 4:45 p.m., said Brookhaven Town spokesman Jack Krieger.

Images afterward showed a blackened roof and other damage, but Ed Eschmann of Manhattan, who owns the property with his younger brother Don, said it appears salvageable.

An empty lot separates the house from the hotel, which was not damaged and where guests did not have to evacuate, Ed Eschmann said. "Everybody's fine and safe but a little bit emotionally disheveled," he said.

Seven fire departments responded. No injuries were reported, Krieger said.

Suffolk police arson detectives were at the scene Thursday night, but the cause of the fire was not immediately available.

Eschmann said it was likely accidental. He said his brother, who manages the hotel and lives at the house with two employees, left for five minutes after cleaning the house and saw smoke when he returned.

Don Eschmann grabbed a small extinguisher and tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire, said his brother, who didn't know where the fire started.

He went out to get another extinguisher, but "by the time he got back, he couldn't even go into the house," Ed Eschmann said.

Fire Island has seen its share of raging fires in recent years. In March, a massive fire in Cherry Grove destroyed the famed Grove Hotel and Holly House apartment complex. In November, 17 departments battled a brush fire in the Carrington Tract. In 2011, an explosive fire that raged for seven hours gutted an entertainment and retail complex at Fire Island Pines.

Ed Eschmann said he and his brother bought the property in 1989. His summer house, next to his brother's on the 1-acre property, will serve for now as the staff's new quarters.

Eschmann said he intends to "beautify" the burned house, perhaps with a coat of paint over the charred exterior, so guests don't have to look at an "eyesore" pending repairs.

"This is just a blip in my day," he said, joking about pitching a tent on the beach.

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