By Nathan Mayberg
SOUTH FALLSBURG July 19, 2005 A fire at the Raleigh Hotel on Thursday left extensive damage in one room and caused smoke to fill throughout the hotel.
Nobody was hurt, and a quick response from local firefighters ensured that the fire did not spread farther.
Nathan Gropper, an elderly guest from Yorktown Heights, New York and Delray Beach, Florida, was rescued by hotel worker Michael Millhauser. Millhauser carried Gropper, who is disabled, on his back down four flights of stairs to safety. Pete Agosto of the Monticello Fire Department put a breathing mask on him so that he didnt inhale the smoke.
Gropper was quite grateful.
I would have never made it [without Millhauser]. He is a true hero.
He was also grateful for Agostos help.
I would have choked, said Gropper. You really get scared when you cant see five feet in front of you.
The fire started in the room of Dob Hasden, who holds religious services there. The fire reportedly started at his refrigerator. He was questioned by Town of Fallsburg Police. Hasden was not injured.
Raleigh owner Laurie Landon said there were about 200 guests ready to eat lunch when the fire occurred. Lunch actually went on as planned they were simply moved into the nightclub and ate there.
A cleaning crew was hired to clean up the soot and damage. The smoke was being aired out immediately after the fire was put out.
The Fallsburg Fire Department was the first to respond. They were assisted by Hurleyville, Monticello, Smallwood and Woodbourne.
Fallsburg Fire Chief Rich Levine said firemen carried the hose up to the room and broke the windows open to let the fire out. He ruled the cause of the fire to be electrical, and Sullivan County fire investigators checked out the scene.
Landon was obviously distraught, although she expects insurance to cover the damage. She said the fire brought back memories of her father Mannie Halbert, who built that section of the hotel himself. But she was glad that all of the guests were safe and accounted for. She especially thanked all of the area firefighters who were diligent in their enormous save.