Shinnecock Hills Blaze Injures 2, 1 Seriously

One man taken to Stony Brook Burn Center after fire rips through Greenfield Road house; Property cited for health and safety hazards earlier this year.

Credit: Dennis Chuppe/Southampton Fire Department
Credit: Dennis Chuppe/Southampton Fire Department
Update, 11:55 p.m.: Two men were hospitalized Wednesday evening after they escaped a raging fire at a house in Shinnecock Hills that town officials said posed health and safety hazards this summer.

The Southampton Town Fire Marshal's office is now investigating the cause of the blaze that destroyed the two-story house at 18 Greenfield Road, between County Road 39 and St. Andrew's Road

Southampton Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Chris Brenner said one of the men sustained major burns. The Southampton Volunteer Ambulance transported him to Southampton Hospital, but he was then transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital's Burn Center. His condition late Wednesday night was not immediately known.

The other man was also taken to Southampton Hospital for smoke inhalation. Brenner was not able to confirm whether a pet succumbed to the fire, but said there was one pet outside that was very much alive.

Brenner said the department was alerted to a possible structure fire at 5:55 p.m. When chiefs arrived, the house was already fully engulfed in flames. "The two occupants just got out," Brenner said. The less injured man was able to tell them no one else was inside.

"Flames were coming out all of the windows. It was roaring," Brenner said, adding some gas tanks exploded.

Chief Dennis Roy, who was in charge, called for help from the North Sea Fire Department and backup from the Hampton Bays Fire Department Rapid Intervention Team. About 60 to 80 firefighters responded and worked to tame the flames — some remained on scene for nearly four and a half hours.

Brenner said firefighters had water on the fire within two minutes of the first truck arriving on scene, but the flames proved difficult to extinguish. They conducted an attack that was done largely from the exterior of the building because there the floors were compromised, he said.

"The guys and girls of all the departments that were there did an incredible job," Brenner said.

The Bridgehampton Fire Department was called to standby at Southampton's headquarters. Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance also responded with one ambulance and its rehab vehicle to conduct firefighter assessment.

No firefighters were reported injured.

Greenfield Road and an eastbound lane on County Road 39 was closed while firefighters were on scene, Brenner said.

The property at 18 Greenfield Road has been under the eye of town officials for some time. The Southampton Town Board held a public hearing on the property after receiving a report from the Town of Southampton Investigations and Enforcement Unit, which concluded that the property was dangerous and posed a health and safety hazard. According to an August resolution from the board, raw sewage was found running out onto the property and a large amount of garbage, rubbish, litter and debris had accumulated there.

At the Sept. 24 hearing on the matter, the board was advised that the homeowner was working towards compliance, and the hearing was adjourned for 30 days, minutes show. By the board's Oct. 22 meeting, records show the owner had cleaned up the property and signed a stipulation of settlement after town code enforcement inspected the property. The hearing was closed, despite objections from Brad Bender, now a Councilman-elect, who asked that the code enforcement department take another look. He cited possible illegal activity.

Previously, 6:32 p.m.:
Southampton firefighters are battling a structure fire on Greenfield Road in Shinnecock Hills on Wednesday evening.

The fire broke out around 6 p.m., and the Southampton Fire Department requested help from the North Sea Fire Department. The Hampton Bays Fire Department also responded with its Rapid Intervention Team.

There were reportedly two victims — one with burns and one with smoke inhalation, though that could not be immediately confirmed.

The Bridgehampton Fire Department was called to standby at the Southampton Fire Department headquarters

The Southampton Volunteer Ambulance responded with two ambulances, and the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance was asked to respond with an ambulance and its rehab unit.

Check back for more information as it becomes available.

MT/Sag Harbor December 05, 2013 at 12:15 AM
well Chris, they need to inspect these houses that have so many people...they can see all those cars in front and just knock on the door and find out who and what...this was a beautiful village and town...it still is, just so much junk landed here....
John Pine December 06, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Sadly these are most likely flophouses being involved in these fires. These are single family homes with 20 or more people, very likely illegals, living in overcrowded conditions. The fires are probably the result of space heaters and overtaxed electrical systems. The Town doesn't want to do much because they pander to the illegals and those that hire them. This not only puts the lives of the illegals in danger, but responding emergency personnel and firefighters as well. The illegals live this way as to spend as much they earn here out of the country back home.
oonald December 09, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Hey Anna do you hear us where is your promise for re-election and code enforcement ????? Don't know who's worst you or Tim useless Bishop!!!!
cm December 10, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Tim useless bishop is!!!!


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