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Smoldering Logs Blamed for Fire in East Hampton

Thu, 01/07/2021 - 06:26
Michael Heller/East Hampton Fire Department

Two fires this week, one in a house and the other in a trailer, were swiftly handled by the East Hampton Fire Department, both in under an hour.

The first, a deck fire at a house on Route 114, was "a lesson in proper disposal of firewood," said Chief Gerry Turza. After using the fireplace Monday night, a resident "took all the logs in the fireplace that were somewhat smoldering and put them outside on their wooden deck, and that ignited – obviously."

The logs sat there for a while before setting fire to an exterior wall of the house, burning through the outer sheeting by 1:30 a.m. The fire department responded with one engine, two tankers, and a hose truck, and doused the remnants of the firewood on the front lawn. Firefighters had to cut a hole into the side of the house to ensure the blaze did not spread there. There were no injuries.

Fireplace materials may smolder for a while, said the chief, and the remnants should be put in a metal noncombustible container, not a plastic garbage can or deck. "Smoldering material is still fire, and it gets a little oxygen and keeps going," he said. The homeowners in this case were very lucky, said Mr. Turza. "They were probably five minutes away from having a full-blown house fire."

On Tuesday morning, the department also extinguished a fire in a 10-foot-long utility trailer parked at the National Waste Services property at 220 Springs-Fireplace Road, which, Chief Turza explained, a number of landscapers, tenants, and contractors use for storage. The fire was enclosed within the structure, which contained several propane tanks, lithium ion-powered tools, and other assorted chemicals and materials.

They used one engine, a tanker, and a heavy-rescue truck in putting out the flames. The town fire marshal's office was called in to determine the cause, though Chief Turza did not deem it suspicious.

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