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Arson Squad Probes Suspicious Shinnecock Gaming Authority Trailer Blaze

FBI looking into blaze as well due to prior investigation, fire marshal says.

The fire that destroyed the Shinnecock Indian Nation's gaming authority trailer is being investigated as an arson, the Southampton Town Fire Marshal's office said on Thursday morning. 

Fire Marshal Chris Hansen said the fire was determined as suspicious after it was discovered that the blaze on Wednesday started on the outside of the trailer, which is near the community center on the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton. 

The Suffolk County Police Department's arson squad was called into assist with the investigation. 

"We did have a Suffolk County accelerant detection dog come out and it did hit on several spots," Hansen said. Samples were taken to the Suffolk County Crime Lab for determinations, he said.

The investigation is ongoing. "The exact cause and the person or persons involved is unknown at this point," Hansen said. 

The FBI and New York State Bureau of Criminal Justice is also investigating, according to Hansen. He said the fire marshal's office did not call the FBI in, but that they were involved due to a prior incident. 

In May, FBI agents searched the gaming authority trailer as part of an unspecified probe into the tribe, FBI officials told Newsday at the time. 

The Shinnecock Indian Nation has long been trying to establish a gaming facility, and the gaming authority is made up of five tribal members who liaise with a casino development company. 

Beverly Jensen, a spokeswoman for the tribal leaders, said she was aware of the determination, but that the board had no comment at this time.

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