Arson Squad Investigating Water Mill Blaze

Southampton Fire Department

The Suffolk County Arson Squad is investigating a fire that raced through a house under construction in Water Mill on Tuesday evening.

The Southampton Fire Department was called to 18 Seven Ponds Road, near David White's Lane, at 7:12 p.m. The first unit to arrive found the large building fully engulfed in flames, according to Chris Brenner, second assistant chief of the department.

The Southampton Town fire marshal's office called in the county arson squad for assistance in the investigation. Cheryl Kraft, the chief town fire marshal, said investigators were still sifting through the rubble Wednesday morning.

Crews battled the blaze for an hour and a half before bringing it under control.

"When the first units arrived on scene, they stated the fire was so hot that they were standing in the roadway at the double-yellow line and it was such extreme heat from that far away. We could not get that close to it right away," Mr. Brenner said.

The Suffolk County Water Authority had to increase the water pressure in the neighborhood to help firefighters douse the flames.

Chief Dennis Roy, who was in charge, called for help from the Hampton Bays, North Sea, and Sag Harbor Fire Departments. The Bridgehampton Fire Department stood by at Southampton's headquarters and answered one minor call while covering for the neighboring department.

Southampton Volunteer Ambulance, along with Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance and Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance also responded. One firefighter  suffered a minor shoulder injury and another was taken to Southampton Hospital to be treated for high blood pressure. Both were released a few hours later.

The house fell into itself. "Ninety-nine percent of it collapsed. There's only one little, tiny, maybe five-foot section of wall that is still standing," Mr. Brenner said.

Firefighters, who remained at the scene until 11:30 p.m., were called back for a small rekindle at about 5:30 a.m. yesterday. Mr. Brenner said debris in the basement was smoldering.

The house went up recently; there was still a trailer on the property from Jack Brady Custom Homes, based in Blue Point. A work van was also destroyed, Mr. Brenner said. A message for Mr. Brady was not immediately returned.

The two-acre property is owned by Glenn Fishman of Woodmere, who bought it for $1.065 million in March 2013, according to the Southampton Town Tax Receiver's office. An old farmhouse is believed to have been torn down to make way for construction.

Black smoke and flames could be seen miles away from the blaze, reportedly as far away as Montauk, across in Mattituck on the North Fork, and even from Port Jefferson Sound. Mr. Brenner, who was with his family UpIsland when the fire department was called, said he could see "a mushroom cloud of smoke" from County Road 101 in Medford.

Southampton Fire Department
Southampton Fire Department
Southampton Fire Department
Only a small part of the house was left standing after a fire ripped through it on Tuesday evening.Taylor K. Vecsey
Investigators remained at the scene of the fire on Wednesday morning. Taylor K. Vecsey