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Fire Marshal Investigating Wednesday Fire in Shinnecock Hills

Blaze does not appear to be suspicious at this time, fire marshal says.

A view of the house at 18 Greenfield Road from the driveway.
A view of the house at 18 Greenfield Road from the driveway.
Fire officials are investigating what sparked a fire that destroyed a Shinnecock Hills house on Wednesday night, sending one to the hospital with serious burns.

Fire Marshal John Rankin said Thursday morning that no determination has been made yet and due to the amount of damage that occurred, he wasn't able to get into the house after being called to the scene on Wednesday night. "It does not appear suspicious at this time," he said, adding that they one of the occupants of the residence reported the fire started in a first floor room that was used as a living room.

He said one man was recovering from burns and smoke inhalation that were serious enough that he was transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital's Burn Unit after being taken to Southampton Hospital.

Second Assistant Chief Chris Brenner said that the man, along with another man, made it out of the house just as chiefs arrived at the house at 18 Greenfield Road.

The other man, who was reported to have suffered smoke inhalation, refused medical care, according to Rankin, though Brenner said he was taken to Southampton Hospital.

Though there were reports that a pet had died, Rankin could not confirm that. "We didn't find any," he said.

A cat surprised everyone when it came running out of the basement, Rankin said. It ran off into the woods.

Rankin said he is aware of prior code enforcement violations on the property. "We were advised of that last night," he said. He is in the process of getting information from code enforcement officers to see if problems on the property had anything to do with the fire.

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.

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