Abandoned Hounsfield motel destroyed as a third suspicious fire strikes

Harbor Motel destroyed

TOWN OF HOUNSFIELD, N.Y. (WWNY) - For the third time in just over a month, a suspicious fire struck the old Harbor Motel on State Route 3 in the town of Hounsfield.

This time, the early Friday morning blaze destroyed the abandoned building.

The old Harbor Motel on State Route 3 was engulfed in flames early Friday morning
The old Harbor Motel on State Route 3 was engulfed in flames early Friday morning (Source: Stephany Zeltwanger)

“When we arrived on-scene, it was pretty much 75 percent involved at that point, which is different from when we’ve been here before,” said Town of Brownville Fire Deptartment Assistant Chief Drew Heise. “We’ve been here two times previously. Both times it’s been contained to one room, so that’s a big difference from what we’ve had today.”

Emergency crews tear through the ceiling of the old Harbor Motel to expose pockets of fire
Emergency crews tear through the ceiling of the old Harbor Motel to expose pockets of fire (Source: wwny)

Emergency crews were called to the scene around 1:30 a.m. Firefighters battled the fire from the outside, dousing flames, and using chainsaws and other hand tools to expose hot spots.

Assistant Chief Heise said the fire is believed to have started in the rear of the structure. The flames were so intense they completely burned through a back wall leaving a charred hole.

Heise says like the previous two fires at the abandoned hotel, this latest blaze appears to have been set by someone.

Fire officials believe the blaze started in the rear of the structure
Fire officials believe the blaze started in the rear of the structure (Source: wwny)

“It’s definitely different just knowing that we’ve been here previously and knowing that someone is starting the fire every time, we’ve determined that, so when you’re en route to this location, you always wonder what you’ll encounter when you get here and who could be lingering,” Heise said.

Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies were on-scene overnight and State Police have been called to investigate.

No firefighters were hurt battling the blaze. Crews expect to spend part of the morning dealing with stubborn pockets of fire. From there, they’ll determine whether or not what’s left of the Harbor Motel should be demolished.

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