'Big Ball of Flames' Destroys Amagansett House

Firefighters protected neighboring houses as embers blew onto roofs and lawns.
Amagansett firefighters battled a blaze that destroyed the house at 119 Miankoma Lane in Amagansett on Thursday. Michael Heller/East Hampton Fire Department

Four fire departments responded to a blaze that destroyed an Amagansett house and threatened several others nearby in the early morning hours on Thursday.

Amagansett Fire Department Chief Dwayne Denton said he arrived at 119 Miankoma Lane, believed to be under construction, with six or seven minutes of the 1:43 a.m. call. The house was already a total loss, he said. No one was inside the house at the time.

"It was fully involved. I don't just mean the flames coming through the windows. It was a big ball of flames," Chief Denton said. "Within six to eight minutes, the house collapsed into the foundation," he said. All that was left is a brick chimney and a charred Mickey's waste container in the front yard.

"My biggest concern were the houses across the street and next door," he said. The wind was blowing from the east and the embers were blowing over onto the neighboring lawns and roofs, he said.

Firefighters had to wet down the surrounding houses, which are 50 to 75 feet apart, according to the chief, to keep them from catching fire. In fact, embers gathered on the roof of the house across the street, at 122 Miankoma Lane, and set it on ablaze, burning a small hole in the roof, the chief said. "Very fortunate my guys caught it," he said, adding that there was no one at home.

Water proved to be a challenge. The flow from a hydrant on Miankoma Lane was described as a dribble, the chief said. "The mains there are old. There was no water pressure. So we went down to Main Street and got good water supply there," he said. When East Hampton's aerial ladder and engine arrived, he had them lay a hose from Bluff Road, which also supplied good water pressure.

An engine from the Springs Fire Department stood by, and the Rapid Intervention Team from the Sag Harbor Fire Department also responded. In total, about 70 to 75 firefighters responded. Many remained there until 4:45 a.m., though the chiefs remained until about 6 a.m. No injuries were reported.

Chief Denton said he didn't know what caused the blaze, but that he suspects it was burning for four or five hours before it was reported to 911 dispatchers.

The East Hampton Town fire marshal's office is investigating the cause, and fire marshals were still at the scene of the fire at about 9:30 a.m.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect address for the house.

The East Hampton Fire Department aerial ladder dumped water on the house to put out the flames after the house collapsed. Michael Heller/East Hampton Fire Department
Michael Heller/East Hampton Fire Department


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