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Fire Marshal: Junction Box to Blame for Blaze

A Wednesday mid-morning fire that closed County Road 39 for a hour was electrical, fire marshal says.

A that tied up traffic on Southampton's main thoroughfare Wednesday for about an hour was electrical in nature, starting at an open junction box, according to Southampton Town Chief Fire Marshal Cheryl Kraft.

A former fire chief from the reported spotting smoke coming from a garage on County Road 39 that morning, Southampton Fire Capt. Chris Brenner said. The shut down the road in both directions between Sandy Hollow Road and North Magee Street so firetrucks, hoses and equipment could get in. Firefighters extinguished the visible fire and cut open the roof as a precaution to check if the flames had spread, he said. Firefighters cleared the scene after an hour and handed it over to the fire marshals to investigate.

The was also on scene; no injuries were reported.

Kraft said the two-bay garage, formerly the business Muffler, Tire and Brake, was empty, and the junction box was located in the shop's office. Fire Marshal John Rankin said the junction box was uncovered, with exposed wires. "It's supposed to be covered, according to code," he said. "It finally shorted and started a fire."

Rankin said there were combustible materials around the junction box, including stacked ceiling tiles and wood. The fire damage to the building was minimal, because the garage is mostly concrete, he said. "The smoke damage is extensive throughout the whole building," but, he said, that can be cleaned up easily enough.

sent a rapid intervention team to the scene and North Sea Fire Department stood by with one truck at Southampton Fire Department headquarters during the fire, Brenner said.

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