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Dec 13, 2008 11:49 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Blaze guts longtime firefighter’s home

Dec 13, 2008 11:49 AM

A longtime Bridgehampton fireman was left homeless this week after his house burned to the ground Saturday morning.

Bridgehampton Fire Department volunteers responded to a fire at a house on Butter Lane in Bridgehampton at approximately 6 a.m. on Saturday. No one was home at the time and there were no reported injuries, although the owner’s pet dog and parrot died in the fire, according to Bridgehampton Fire Chief John Healey.

The homeowner, Frank Sayre, who has been a member of the Bridgehampton Fire Department for 49 years, was not home at the time of the blaze because he had been admitted to Southampton Hospital on Tuesday, December 9. He was taken there by his friends James and Rose Leonard of Noyac, who know him from the Bridgehampton Senior Nutrition Center.

The Leonards were at the house on Saturday morning after stopping by to check on Mr. Sayre’s dog, Sadie, and his parrot, which both died in the fire.

“Knowing he wasn’t feeling well, we came over when he didn’t come to the center” on Tuesday, Ms. Leonard said. “It’s a miracle he wasn’t home.”

Ms. Leonard said that on Friday she had noticed an odor coming from one of the rooms in the house, which is located just south of an entrance to the Hayground School. She said the room also appeared to be filling with smoke. She informed Mr. Sayre, who told her not to notify the fire department.

On Monday, Lorri Schneider, the assistant site manager at the nutrition center, said that other regular visitors to the center had agreed to put Mr. Sayre up in their house after he was released from the hospital.

“Frank’s a really great guy, and we’re so thankful he wasn’t home,” she said. She added that many seniors at the center have already agreed to offer Mr. Sayre assistance. Ms. Schneider, who is a co-president of the Kiwanas Club, said that club members are also planning to give Mr. Sayre a donation. The Fireman’s Benevolent Association is also planning to help Mr. Sayre get back on his feet again.

Chief Healey said on Saturday afternoon that it took nearly an hour to extinguish the flames and that the department had to call the neighboring Sag Harbor Fire Department for backup. “It was difficult because the floor and the roof had fallen into the basement,” he said. “There was a lot of debris.”

On Saturday morning, large clouds of gray smoke could be seen drifting across several nearby farm fields, more than a mile from the house, on Scuttlehole Road. Fire department members at the scene had initially believed that someone had been trapped inside the house. They later learned that the house was vacant aside from Mr. Sayre’s two pets.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Southampton Town fire marshal’s office.

Chief Healey said Wednesday that Mr. Sayre had been released from the hospital on Monday, and was staying with friends.

News editor Stephen J. Kotz and reporter Beth Young contributed to this story.

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Despite the owner's wishes, fire officials should have been notified immediately at the first sign of smoke. At least he would still have his house and pets. Hope he has fire insurance.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Dec 14, 08 5:06 PM
If Sag Harbor FD was just back up then I'm a pink elephant in a tutu. We outnumbered BH personel by almost 3 to one and did most of the dirty work. Proper reporting and acknowledgement of our service would be greatly appreciated.
By SHFD (2), Sag Harbor on Dec 15, 08 4:47 AM
BruceB, close your mouth and re-read the article -- pay particular attention to whose decision it was to not call in an alarm.

SHFD, old guy loses his home and pets, and you're peeing and moaning and being territorial?!? Got a gripe with the facts of the story, contact the reporter or New Editor, use your real name (scary thought, isn't it?) and provide corrective information.

Wonderful thing about news on the internet -- it's quckly updated and corrected!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 15, 08 9:08 AM
As chief of the Sag Harbor Fire Department I want to clarify that the comments posted by the person listed as “SHFD” in no way is the opinion of the Officers & Firefighters in the Sag Harbor Fire Department. The person responsible for these comments owes the members of the Bridgehampton Fire Department an apology as they did an excellent job at the fire.
By Robert Mitchell (1), sag harbor on Dec 15, 08 10:05 AM
I too would like to abologize for not clatifying my previous comment. The Bridgehampton Fire Dept. Did a wonderful job on site and it was irresposible of me to not include that. I am not in posession of the true numbers of active personel on scene so the numbers I used were most definitely incorrect. Bruce B is correct -if I had a problem with the reporting of the incident (which is why I posted the comment in the first place) I should have taken it up with the reporter and not written a comment ...more
By SHFD (2), Sag Harbor on Dec 15, 08 1:18 PM
Hey Wheeler, READ, The article clearly states Ms. Leonard saw smoke in a room and did not notify the fire department at the request of the owner, Sayres. The FD should have been notified immediately despite what the owner wished. I recommend you put your glasses on buddy.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Dec 15, 08 5:11 PM
" She informed Mr. Sayre, who told her not to notify the fire department."

Bruce is right. Too bad about the pets.
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 16, 08 8:26 AM
I am quite shocked and dissapointed by the comment made earlier. I am from Sag Harbor, born and raised and have many family members in the SHFD, past and present. And I am ashamed to say that after reading this. Does it really matter who got the most credit? Shouldn't we just be grateful that there weren't any people inside and that nobody was injured or killed, including any firemen?! A house burns down and we are concerned about who did the most work?!! Are you kidding!!! It is a volunteer ...more
By gabriella92502 (1), sag harbor on Dec 16, 08 8:45 PM