A fire on March 5 that destroyed half of a $6 million mansion in Noyac was traced back to a manufactured fireplace and rusted metal chimney, according to a Southampton Town fire marshal.
Fire got out of the chimney and into the wall, Fire Marshal Al Tyczkowski said Friday
A contributing factor to the extent of the fire was a lack of water, he said. There was a well at the end of the Fourteen Hills Court cul-de-sac where the house is located, but the closest fire hydrant was at the intersection of Fourteen Hills Court and Middle Line Highway, according to Tyczkowski. He said firefighters had to constantly ferry water to the site, by tanker trucks.
Tyczkowski said the homeowner had just started a fire in a first-floor fireplace. “The homeowner heard a crackling noise in the walls, went to investigate, couldn’t find anything, went outside the building and saw the roof on fire," he said.
The fire was reported around 11 a.m., and firefighters were on scene for hours, first knocking down the flames, then overhauling to cool hotspots.
Firefighters were limited in how they could attack the fire, Sag Harbor Fire Chief Pete Garypie said. "During our initial attack, we wanted to go in through the front door, but we already had a partial floor collapse and a partial ceiling collapse," he said. Through the course of the fire, there was more of a collapse, he added.
Neither the homeowners nor any firefighters were injured.
“At least 50 percent of the building was destroyed," Tyczkowski said, adding that it will be up to the homeowners and insurance company to decide whether the house is worth salvaging or should be completely torn down.
Sag Harbor Fire Department was first on scene, and five other departments were called in to help battle the blaze.
Tyczkowski said homeowners who want to prevent a similar situation from happening to them should have their chimney's integrity and creosote build-up inspected at least every other year by a certified chimney sweep or fireplace repair company.