By Andy Simek
ROSCOE July 18, 2006 After receiving a massive amount of flood damage, The Antrim Lodge Hotel and Restaurant has gone up in smoke.
The historic circa-1890 structure, located on the corner of Highland and Union avenues in Roscoe, caught fire yesterday around 11:45 a.m.
Fire companies from Roscoe, Callicoon Center, Livingston Manor and Liberty arrived at the scene minutes after the fire started, along with the Roscoe-Rockland Ambulance Corps.
There were seven construction workers in the building at the time the blaze started, none of whom were hurt, according to officials at the scene.
The workers were from Allison-Devore Contracting, the company that has been in charge of renovating the lodge for more than two years.
Eighteen-year-old Jeff Lamirande, one of the workers at the scene, said that they had just finished cleaning up after the flood damage and were reinforcing the support beams in the basement of the building when his foreman, Peter Failla, went upstairs to find the source of a suspicious scent.
I had been smelling smoke all day from the wood boilers down the block, so I didnt think much of it at first, Failla said.
When one of his plumbers went upstairs, he said, they found smoke pouring down from the top floors of the building.
At that point, Failla yelled Fire! and cleared his men out of the building.
Eyewitness Ralph Mattersdorfer was coming out of the bank when he saw a little bit of smoke down the street.
I figured someone was just burning garbage, he said.
His curiosity got the best of him, however, and he walked down to see exactly what was going on.
By the time I got to the place, the little bit of smoke that I saw was a lot of smoke. . . . You could see fire and smoke coming out from the rafters on the top floors.
The cause of the fire, which is believed to have started on the top floor of the four-story lodge, is still in question, according to officials.
Failla said that none of the workers were on the top two floors and added that there wasnt any live wiring there, which, in his opinion, would rule out an electrical fire.
The blaze consumed the entirety of the fourth floor, extensively damaged the second and third floors, and was just reaching the first floor by the time firefighters had the flames under control.
The building also sustained extensive water damage.
The Antrim Lodge Hotel and Restaurant has been undergoing renovations since the owners, Diane and David Beveridge, bought the building after the town threatened to condemn it. They reportedly have invested nearly $2 million to rehabilitate it.
The structure has suffered three floods in the last two years. The damage after the fire makes it uncertain whether renovations will continue.
The Beveridges, who are currently in London, could not be reached for comment.
A local landmark, the Antrim hosted many Two-Headed Trout dinners during its heyday, a chance for New York City sportswriters to get up to Trout Town, USA before the opening day of trout season.
The dinners were always held in Keeners Pool, the bar restaurant located in the basement, which featured large trout on the walls and other memorabilia.
Frank Keener was the owner at the time of the bars naming. Later owners included Doug Bury and Socrates Popodamotes.