'Unnoticed' Fire Destroys House in Springs

"It was definitely burning for a while," Springs Fire Chief Ryan Balnis said of the fire that destroyed the house at 23 Thanet Way in the early morning hours Sunday. Michael Heller

When Springs Fire Department chiefs arrived at a reported structure fire in the early morning hours Sunday, they found devastating flames, but very little left of the house itself. 

"You could see through the building," Chief Ryan Balnis said of the scene they found. "All that was left was three walls." 

The chief said he was relieved to find there were no casualties. There were no cars in the driveway and no signs of anyone on the property, he said.

The two-story house at 23 Thanet Way, in the Lion Head Beach neighborhood, was already destroyed when the department received the call at 2:41 a.m., Chief Balnis said. A neighbor on Runnymede Drive made the 911 call, he said. 

"It was definitely burning for a while," he said. "How it went unnoticed, I don't know." 

Firefighters began a "surround and drown" exterior attack, dousing the 1,600-square-foot house with water, the chief said, adding that the fire was under control within 15 to 20 minutes. About 20 to 30 Springs firefighters responded, along with an engine from Amagansett. The East Hampton Fire Department stood by with a tanker and engine at the Springs Firehouse. No injuries were reported. 

The wind from Saturday's northeaster had died down by the time firefighters were called, the chief said. The storm is being looked at as a possible cause for the fire. The East Hampton Town fire marshal's office is investigating.

Radio communications continue to be an issue for Springs firefighters. Chief Balnis reported "terrible" radio service at the scene. Some communications were "unreadable" even between the chief and firemen in a truck 20 feet away, he said. 

The house at 23 Thanet Way is listed as for sale by owners on Zillow for just under $1 million. It was described as a contemporary saltbox with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.