Block Island, Rhode Island, welcomed back vacationers Sunday, a day after a fire tore through hotel

20 August 2023

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (AP) — Block Island welcomed back vacationers Sunday, a day after a fire tore through a historic hotel early Saturday, prompting officials on the summer tourist spot off the coast of Rhode Island to declare a state of emergency and urge the public to stay away.

“Block Island is open for visitors! The beaches are lovely, many restaurants and shops are open. Come to bike and hike,” the Block Island Chamber of Commerce said in Facebook post Sunday.

About 50 firefighters from around the state were flown and shipped in to help fight the flames at the Harborside Inn, and at least four ladder trucks were also brought in, the chamber said Saturday.

In a separate post Sunday, the chamber urged donations to the Block Island Fire Department.

“Their courageous efforts and fast action helped save the town. THANK YOU to all firefighters and first responders for keeping us safe,” the chamber wrote.

The roof of the inn caved in around 1:30 a.m. All guests were evacuated, and no serious injuries were reported.

The Block Island Ferry said its ferries will be running as scheduled on Sunday. The ferry said Saturday that its ferries took emergency vehicles to the island to help in the firefighting efforts.

Block Island is about 12 miles (19 kilometers) off the Rhode Island coast. It has one town, New Shoreham.

According to its website, the 36-room Harborside Inn, has been welcoming visitors to Block Island for over a century “with its Victorian seaport charm.” It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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