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Gaming Authority Trailer Goes Up in Flames on Shinnecock Reservation

Trailer was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived; Town fire marshal investigating cause.

A large office trailer on the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton, used by the gaming authority, was completely destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning.

Southampton Fire Department Chief Dennis Roy said the department was dispatched at about 12:30 a.m., after one of the members who lives on the reservation got a call from another resident about the blaze.

When firefighters arrived, they found the trailer, near the community center, "fully engulfed" in flames, Roy said. "It had self ventilated already and fire was pouring out the back windows," he said.

The fire seems to have started on the back side corner of the trailer, Roy said, and the Southampton Town Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause. "We have two fire marshals still there on an active investigation," Chief Fire Marshal Cheryl Kraft said.

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

The trailer was described by the fire chief as a "double-wide" trailer that had several office spaces and a conference room.

Beverly Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Shinnecock Indian Nation, said the tribal leaders did not have a comment at this time. Her office was lost in the fire, too, she said. 

Finding the source of the electricity to turn it off was the biggest challenge, Roy said and the department was on scene until about 3 a.m.

State Police at the barracks in Riverside would not confirm any information. "It's an ongoing investigation," a trooper said.

About 50 members responded, and no mutual aid was requested. No injuries were reported, either, Roy said.

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