Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 10, 2009 Issue
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Jeanne Sager | Democrat

NO ONE CAN ever say that Lisa and Richard Pfeiffer of Narrowsburg put on a boring wedding. The couple had their reception interrupted on Saturday evening when a fire broke out in the downstairs of The Club at Villa Roma. No one was injured.

No joke: fire interrupts wedding

By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON — They were barely through the “Macarena,” when the DJ asked the guests at Lisa and Richard Pfeiffer’s wedding to clear the Villa Roma Clubhouse.
The Narrowsburg couple was celebrating their nuptials when – for the second time in two years – a call went out over the Plectron: fire at the Villa Roma.
“In the middle of the Macarena, literally, all of a sudden they came running upstairs – the bartender did – and said there was a fire in the wall of the building,” said Jill Kleiner, banquet manager of the resort’s The Club at Villa Roma.
“The DJ was playing his music, and all of a sudden he says, ‘Management has told me you have to leave, there’s a fire,’” explained Paul Barbara, father of the groom at Saturday’s wedding. “We thought it was a joke.”
It was no laughing matter for the folks at the Villa, who suffered a massive fire in the spring of 2006. Located on a hill high above the main hotel, the clubhouse survived that blaze unscathed.
And, thanks to a quick response by three fire companies – Hortonville, Callicoon and Jeffersonville – the clubhouse showed little damage on Saturday.
Hortonville Fire Chief Ted Bauernfeind said the call came in for a working structure fire around 7 p.m., and firefighters quickly ascertained the source was an electrical panel in the wall of the downstairs kitchen.
With the wedding party already cleared out and milling around the parking lot, the 50-some firemen were able to quickly extinguish the blaze.
Contained in the basement, the fire left behind minimal damage.
“It’s a fire-rated wall, it’s up to snuff,” explained Hortonville’s assistant chief, Darryl Emmett.
But the clubhouse remained closed for close to two hours while the firefighters placed a call to the Town of Delaware code enforcement officer.
Town law precludes anyone from re-entering a public building after a fire until a code enforcement official has given the OK.
Firemen and Villa Roma security stood guard at the doorway, keeping staff and the wedding guests outside.
A flustered Kleiner ran back and forth between the family of the wedding party and the firemen, trying to get the reception jumpstarted as soon as possible.
With the electric shut down and all of the bottled water downstairs – right where the fire had just been extinguished – Kleiner wasn’t even able to offer water to the guests.
She and husband Matt, the Villa Roma’s golf professional, were about to begin moving the wedding to the nightclub down the hill when Town of Callicoon’s assistant code enforcement officer Gregg Semenetz arrived.
Covering for Delaware’s code enforcement officer who was unavailable on Saturday night, Semenetz completely removed the subpanel that started the fire from the wall.
Only then did he and Bauernfeind sign off on allowing the wedding guests – and the bride and groom – back inside.
The family, however, opted to make the move to the nightclub anyway.

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