NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency’s (RIEMA) request for federal assistance from the U.S. Small Business Association for those impacted by the fire that tore through the Harborside Inn has been approved.

The historic hotel went up in flames earlier this month and was deemed a total loss. It is scheduled to be torn down next month.

There were a number of businesses that called the Harborside Inn home, which is why RIEMA requested federal assistance to help them get back on their feet.

“The fire at the Harborside Inn was devastating for Block Island residents and business owners,” Gov. Dan McKee said. “I thank our partners in government for their assistance and encourage all those affected by the fire to apply.”

RIEMA said impacted businesses impacted by the fire can now apply online. Applications can also be sent by mail to the following address:

14925 Kingsport Road
Fort Worth, TX 76155

Those interested in applying have until May 28, 2024 to file a claim.

“This assistance will support recovery efforts for businesses and residents to return to pre-disaster conditions,” RIEMA Director Mark Pappas said.

The SBA said it will be setting up a Disaster Loan Outreach Center on the island for those who need help with their applications. It will be located inside New Shoreham Town Hall and will officially open Aug. 30.

The Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be open every single day, except for Labor Day, through Sept. 13.

“In the aftermath of the Block Island hotel fire, we stand in solidarity with the impacted small business concerns in Rhode Island,” SBA’s Francisco Sánchez Jr. said. “These businesses have suffered immense economic injury, leaving them vulnerable. Recognizing the pressing need for financial assistance, we are committed to extending our support through a disaster declaration of economic injury.”

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but investigators believe it started in the hotel’s first-floor kitchen.