At approximately 6:21a.m. on September 29, the New Paltz Fire Department (NPFD) responded to a call reporting smoke coming from a building at 15 ½ North Front Street in the Village of New Paltz. The location was a local hotspot, Mexican Kitchen, which recently came under new ownership a month ago. According to NPFD Chief Cory Wirthmann, the firefighters that arrived on the scene saw “smoke coming out from the roof,” and began immediately to try and suppress the fire, which they were able to do within a half hour, but it was not enough to save the small, wooden structure. “What remained of the building was leaning onto the building next to it and we had to level it,” said Wirthmann. “It’s sad because these new owners only had the business for a month.”
Whenever there’s a structure fire in the Village of New Paltz — many of which, particularly in and around Main Street, are older, wooden structures that stand shoulder to shoulder with one another, it’s always a concern that a fire might jump from one building to the next. “Luckily, the building next door (Scarborough Fare) had nominal damage. A few scorch marks but nothing significant.”
Although some sources suggested that the fire was caused by a faulty hot-water heater, there is no official cause of how the fire began just yet. “We’ve turned it over to the Ulster County Arson Task Force and they’ll conduct their investigation and return a report to us,which I will have to approve or not,” said Wirthmann in an effort to explain the process post-fire. “It’s going to be difficult because the building is gone.”
Wirthmann, who is also the Village Building Inspector, is slated to meet with the owner this afternoon who is coming in from New York City to appraise himself of the situation.
There were no injuries or any other structural damage reported.