The Amagansett Fire Department was hosting its annual chicken barbecue on Sunday evening when firefighters were called to a car fire within yards of the railroad tracks near the Abram's Landing Road and Montauk Highway intersection.
Amagansett Fire Chief Dwayne Denton said "an '80s-something Cadillac" was destroyed after its engine erupted in flames.
Dispatchers received a 911 call at 5:35 p.m. James Bennett, an East Hampton Fire Department volunteer, happened to drive by as smoke began to pour from the Cadillac's hood and jumped into action, using a fire extinguisher he had with him to diminish flames, Chief Denton said.
About 20 firefighters left the barbecue, responding with an engine, tanker truck, and rescue truck. The scene was within a few hundred feet of the Main Street firehouse. "Our response time was like nothing," the chief said.
There was concern among firefighters about an approaching westbound Long Island Rail Road train; the train slowed as it approached the area, just east of the Amagansett station.
Though the fire was extinguished quickly, Chief Denton said, the department remained on scene for about 40 minutes, washing oil and debris from the road. The car was towed away.
The fire came during a busy Sunday afternoon, about an hour after an Amagansett fire chief and emergency medical technician assisted with a serious motor vehicle accident in East Hampton Village that sent four people to hospitals for treatment.