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Historic Kaaterskill Inn Destroyed by Massive Fire

By THOMAS MARRA , Correspondent | November 28, 2021 | NEW YORK

Story No. 121921101

PALENVILLE, NY - A large fire destroyed an Airbnb with several hotel rooms at a popular wedding location in Catskill on Sunday, November 28, 2021.

Fire crews were called for a report of a fire on the second floor of a structure at the Kaaterskill Inn located at 424 High Falls Rd. Ext. just before 12:30 P.M. The call initially went out as a fire on the second floor and then quickly spread, engulfing the entire building in fire.

The building is an Airbnb consisting of nine different rooms, according to Assistant Chief Mike Overbaugh of the Kiskatom Fire Department. He says the room where the fire began was already fully-involved upon the arrival of the first chief, minutes after the call went out.

“It started to spread to the rooms adjacent to it,” he said. “By the time we got after it, it had already spread through the whole upstairs and part of the downstairs.”

The building was an old riding stable that had been converted to the Airbnb, according to Chief Overbaugh. With the conversion of the structure, he says there were many additions of walls as well as false walls that were hiding fire and making it difficult for firefighters to find all the fire to extinguish it.

“The biggest thing was the construction of the building,” Overbaugh said. “False walls and hallways–that was the hardest part.”

He says the roof began to collapse at one point during firefighting operations, causing him to order crews to attack the fire from the exterior only. Kiskatom and Palenville Fire Departments were on the scene with Catskill Ambulance, as well as Catskill and Haines Falls Fire Departments on standby. Crews utilized a large pond on the property to draft water for firefighting operations.

Only one room had occupants inside at the time of the fire, Overbaugh said. He says there was a man with his two daughters in a room on the bottom floor and he is believed to be who called in the fire and went from room to room knocking to try and evacuate any possible occupants still inside.

There was reportedly one person that wasn’t accounted for, but Overbaugh said all occupants have since been accounted for, despite the difficulty of tracking down people due to the fact of it being an Airbnb rental.

It took approximately two or three hours to get the fire knocked down and placed under control. The cause of the fire is reported to be accidental and believed to have started on the wooden deck on the second floor.

“We believe it was caused by one of the people staying here who put fireplace logs out on the deck before they left,” Overbaugh said.

There were no reported injuries to any firefighters or civilians on the scene.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.