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Homeowner Cited After Mattress Fire

Thu, 10/06/2022 - 08:59

A Sept. 19 mattress fire at a house on Newtown Lane in East Hampton Village has led to two court summonses for its Florida homeowner, who is charged with failing to maintain proper fire-safety equipment. A sign has been placed on the house forbidding entry until it is brought up to code.

Thomas Preiato, the village’s principal building inspector, was called in to inspect the premises following the fire. When he arrived, he  said, he “noticed that the proper fire and carbon monoxide alarms were not present.”

“Being that these devices must be installed and be maintained, it was determined that the residence was not safe to occupy, hence the placarding, which forbids entry,” Mr. Preiato said.

Summonses were issued, he said, “to help ensure that the required alarms be installed.” He stressed that it is a homeowner’s responsibility to “keep the home in an occupiable state as per the current certificate of occupancy. It would be our ultimate goal to have that happen as soon as possible.”

The Newtown Lane building, according to police records, was occupied at the time of the fire by an unidentified 91-year-old woman and two other people, also not named. The records indicate that at least one person in the house was a renter.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and removed the charred mattress. Police reported that one person had been taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital for evaluation.

The house occupies a .57-acre lot with a surrounding wooden fence and has been valued at around $1.5 million. Town tax rolls identify its owner as Phyllis McKallip of Vero Beach, Fla. Attempts to reach her or other family members were unsuccessful.

Mr. Preiato said the outcome could have been worse. “It was fortunate that the fire occurred during the day and that someone noticed it early on,” he said. “There was a good combined effort on the part of the fire, police, and building departments in keeping the event to a minimum, without injury.”


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