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Five Fire Departments Fight Late-Night Blaze

Fri, 04/12/2024 - 12:33
The family living at the house on Ely Brook to Hand's Creek Road all escaped safely.
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Crews from five volunteer fire departments battled a basement blaze, and two more stood at the ready in case further help was needed, late Thursday night at a house on Ely Brook to Hand's Creek Road in the Northwest Woods section of East Hampton.

The 911 call came in via cellphone at 11:16 p.m. and crews were there until nearly four in the morning, said East Hampton Fire Department Chief Duane Forrester on Friday morning. The family that occupied the house — one of whom is a fire department volunteer himself — escaped safely.

Firefighters arrived to find the fire engulfing the basement "and some extension up into the first floor," Chief Forrester said. "The guys made an aggressive attack and a good stop. Basement fires are always a little bit tougher than other fires because you have to go below grade and everything becomes a chimney — all that smoke and heat go up. It was dark, and there was a lot going on."

The robust mutual aid response was needed because "it was late at night and we were a little light on manpower," the chief said.

The East Hampton crew was assisted by rapid-intervention teams from Sag Harbor and Southampton, as well as a crew from Amagansett. The Springs Fire Department stood by at East Hampton's firehouse on Cedar Street in case of other calls, but the crew was soon called over to the Ely Brook to Hand's Creek scene, Chief Forrester said. A Montauk Fire Department crew later responded to the East Hampton Firehouse to stand by, while the Bridgehampton Fire Department stood by at Sag Harbor headquarters.

Two East Hampton ambulances were on scene to evaluate and treat firefighters as they rotated in and out of the action, Chief Forrester said. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the East Hampton Town fire marshal's office.

"Everyone did a really good job last night," the chief said. "This was the first structure fire we've had in a while. . . . Everything came back together and worked perfectly, for the most part."

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