2007-04-20 / Front Page

Arson Destroys Club In Far Rockaway

By Miriam Rosenberg

By Miriam Rosenberg

A firefighter battles the flames from the roof of the Do Drop Inn on Monday night.  Photo by Joseph L. Cooper
A firefighter battles the flames from the roof of the Do Drop Inn on Monday night. Photo by Joseph L. Cooper Fire investigators say it was arson that sparked a three-alarm blaze that destroyed a club in Far Rockaway on Monday night.

The Do Drop Inn, located at 1849 Gateway Boulevard, was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene just three minutes after the FDNY logged the call at 7:32 p.m. Monday. The fire was deemed suspicious after fire marshals had a chance to investigate, and was ruled arson the next day.

But investigators aren't yet sure who or what sparked the blaze.

"We don't have the type of incendiary device," said an FDNY spokesperson, who said the investigation is still ongoing.

No arrests were made at press time.

Monday night's fire was quickly upgraded to a second alarm after firefighters arrived and surveyed the building's structure, the heavy body of raging fire and the potential for the fire to spread, Assistant Chief Edward Kilduff told The Wave.

Some of the 150 firefighters who fought Monday's fire watch from the ground as their colleagues in buckets work to put out the fire. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg
Some of the 150 firefighters who fought Monday's fire watch from the ground as their colleagues in buckets work to put out the fire. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg The decision was made early that firefighters would battle the blaze from the street and not attempt to enter the Inn, Kilduff said.

"There was a possibility of multiple fires," said Kilduff. "We evaluated the structure's status… the upstairs was gone."

He said that the building's age and evidence that it had undergone "a lot of renovations" factored into the decision to keep firefighters outside the building.

The bulk of the flames appeared to be extinguished by about 8 p.m., but small fires continued to pop up, which eventually resulted in the roof collapsing. As the stubborn blaze continued, burned-out walls moved back and forth like pieces of cardboard under the pressure of water from fire hoses.

An antenna disappeared into the flames when one of the final pieces of the roof collapsed at around 8:20 p.m.

The roof of the building is lost as the antenna falls into the flames and the roof collapses.
The roof of the building is lost as the antenna falls into the flames and the roof collapses. While it seemed as though the 150 firefighters who worked to put out the fire had a handle on things by 9 p.m., it wasn't officially declared under control until 10:40 p.m., according to the FDNY.

Two of New York's Bravest were sent to nearby St. John's Episcopal Hospital with minor injuries.

Formerly known as the Trouville Bar and Grill, the building, which is more than 50 years old, was vacant at the time of the fire. The bar closed two weeks ago after losing its lease, according to Captain Brian McMahon, the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct. He said two patrons were recently arrested on gun charges after they left a party there on the Inn's last night of business.

"It's getting ready to be demolished in two months to put in new houses over there by the hospital," McMahon said Wednesday. "On the last day, they had a party and there were two gun collars that day. Two guys with guns."

Police tape keeps onlookers back as firefighters fight to get the flames under control.
Police tape keeps onlookers back as firefighters fight to get the flames under control. The Wave spoke this week with a representative of New Haven Associates, LLC, which owns the building. The representative, who would not give his name, declined to comment for this story.

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