As staff members at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton tried to light an outdoor pizza oven on a windy afternoon last week, they touched off a grass fire that quickly spread to a nearby building, fire officials said.
Brian Williams, a Southampton Town fire marshal, said a rolled-up newspaper had been lit on March 26 around 1:40 p.m., and before it could be tossed into the oven, embers blew away. Bushes and grass caught fire, and flames extended to Jeff’s Kitchen on the campus, located between Butter and Mitchell Lanes.
Bridgehampton Fire Department volunteers quickly extinguished the blaze before it spread beyond one side of the building. The Sag Harbor Fire Department also responded.
“It could have been really bad,” Chief Gary Horsburgh of the Bridgehampton department said afterward.
Eastern Long Island had been under a wind advisory that officials warned could fuel brush fires, especially given the dry conditions. There were several small brush and garbage fires reported in Southampton Town and a large brush fire in Manorville on March 26.
At the Hayground School, an outside wall at Jeff’s Kitchen, a building used to prepare student meals as well as for public events, was charred from the ground to the second story. Mr. Williams said the damage was contained to the one wall on the wood-frame building.
Hayground students were kept in a separate building while firefighters took care of the flames. No injuries were reported. A call to the school seeking comment was not returned.
Mr. Williams said it is never a good idea to light a fire under such weather conditions. “I doubt they will ever do that again,” he said.