In less than 24 hours, the Amagansett Fire Department responded to two instances of smoke-filled houses, but no one was hurt in either case.
The latest call came early on Thursday morning when a fire chief responded to an automatic fire alarm at 421 Cranberry Hole Road at 2:08 a.m. Second Assistant Chief Wayne Gauger found heavy smoke inside the house, and called in a report of a structure fire, according to Chief Dwayne Denton. "We didn't know what we had," Mr. Denton said, adding that the first engine set up a hose from a nearby hydrant to the house.
Firefighters forced entry to the house and searched for the source of the smoke. They found no fire — the smoke was coming from a malfunctioning air handler in a crawl space. "The motor was burning up," Chief Denton said.
The house was unoccupied at the time.
Firefighters were able to shut down the equipment and then vented out the house with fans. Firefighters were packing up around 3:45 a.m., when they ran into a snag. In the 22-degree weather, the hydrant somehow got stuck and could not be shut off, something they have to do before disconnecting the hose. "It was so cold, water dripping off was turning to ice before it hit the ground," Mr. Denton said.
The department called the Suffolk County Water Authority to Cranberry Hole Road, and the chiefs and the engine had to stand by in the meantime. It was about 4:45 a.m. when they headed back to the firehouse, he said.
The East Hampton Town Highway Department also responded to put sand on that section of icy road.
Seventeen hours earlier, in slightly warmer weather, Amagansett firefighters responded to Barnes Landing after a homeowner reported smoke in the basement following a "loud bang," Mr. Denton said.
Firefighters arrived to find a furnace "puff back" that caused the flue to blow off, the chief said. They used fans to vent the space. There was minimal damage.