Note: This article was modified to clarify the topics discussed and decisions reached at the town council meeting.
NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s Attorney General Peter Neronha is investigating the fire that destroyed the Harborside Inn on Block Island.
At a meeting on Thursday, the New Shoreham Town Council registered their appreciation for the state fire marshal and the attorney general’s involvement in the investigation. “This is, based upon what we know, something that really demands the kind of investigation that is actually occurring,” said First Warden Keith Stover.
The council now plans to write a letter to the attorney general and state Fire Marshal, requesting that they keep the council informed on their investigations.
“We want them to keep us in the loop,” said Councilor Martha Ball.
The meeting comes nearly a week after the state fire marshal’s office released its report on last month’s fire at the inn.
The historic building is a total loss and is currently being demolished.
WATCH: The Harborside Inn has been completely demolished (Story continues below.)
Investigators believe the fire, which has been deemed accidental, started in the kitchen of the Harbor Grill and was likely fueled by a buildup of cooking grease.
Investigators concluded that the fire was likely caused either by “unattended cooking or failure to maintain protective baffles in the hood.”
It was also determined that the kitchen’s fire suppression system failed to activate, according to the report, even though it had been tagged “compliant” repeatedly over the years.
“The Attorney General’s Office has recently received copies of the Fire Marshal’s investigative materials and will review those materials further to determine if there was any criminal conduct arising out of their investigation,” a spokesperson for Neronha confirmed.
The state fire marshal’s office also said it does not have a record on file for inspections of the Harborside Inn. (The state took over inspections for New Shoreham back in 2019 when the town’s inspector was relieved of those duties.)
In addition, investigators stated that the restaurant manager claimed the kitchen hood was cleaned at the start and close of each season. But the last recorded cleaning of the kitchen hood dated back to May 2022, which violates the state’s fire code.