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Dec 22, 2018 8:55 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Arrests And A Fire At East Hampton Indoor Tennis In One Weekend

Firefighters responded to a call at East Hampton Indoor Tennis Saturday. COURTESY MICHAEL HELLER
Dec 31, 2018 3:06 PM

A fire that broke out at East Hampton Indoor Tennis last week is being investigated as arson after evidence of an accelerant was found at the scene.

At 5 a.m. on Saturday, December 22, the East Hampton Fire Department was called to an automatic fire alarm at the office building for East Hampton Indoor Tennis at 174 Daniels Hole Road near the East Hampton Airport. The building’s fire sprinkler system contained the fire, and no injuries were reported.

However, Lieutenant Peter Powers of the East Hampton Town Police said on Monday that the cause of the fire is currently under investigation by Town Police and Suffolk County Arson Squad detectives.

“The investigation is ongoing—however, the preliminary investigation revealed an accelerant, and the possibility of arson,” he said. “But I can’t comment on the exact circumstance—it’s an active investigation.”

Lt. Powers said the investigation detected an accelerant in the office where the fire began. Two separate incidents, involving a drunken driver and harassment, at the complex that weekend have not been linked to the fire, according to those involved.

On the evening of Friday, December 21, hours before the fire broke out, police had been at the site dealing with what they said was a drunken driver, Antonio A. Cabrera of East Hampton, who turned 33 that day. According to police, Mr. Cabrera was driving his 2016 Ford pickup in an “erratic manner” in the parking lot at about 7 p.m. and struck a fire pit, causing $1,000 worth of damage, then drove into a 2015 Jeep owned by Scott Rubenstein, managing partner of East Hampton Indoor Tennis, as Mr. Rubenstein attempted to block him to prevent further damage.

Mr. Cabrera then took off on foot before police caught up with him and charged him with misdemeanor counts of DWI and criminal mischief.

The next day, which was December 23, Scott A. McKallip, 55, of East Hampton was arrested at 8:42 a.m. Police said he violated a year-long order of protection that required him to stay away from the place of business, which was obtained on December 7.

According to police, Mr. McKallip had sent threatening messages to Mr. Rubenstein’s adult daughter on Facebook before he was arrested on December 7 and charged with aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor. He violated the court order on Friday, December 21, by entering the parking lot of East Hampton Indoor Tennis at about 6 p.m., then returned on Sunday, December 23, at 8:30 a.m., according to a police report.

Mr. McKallip was charged with two counts of trespassing, both violations, and two counts of criminal contempt in the second degree, both misdemeanors.

“I personally don’t link the two incidents to the fire,” Mr. Rubenstein said Monday afternoon as he was gearing up for a New Year’s Eve party being hosted at the Clubhouse at the facility. “I think it’s easy to let your mind wander.”

The East Hampton Town Police Department, Suffolk County Police detectives and East Hampton Town Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Thomas Baker all responded to the fire on December 22. Second Assistant Fire Chief Brian Stanis said he requested a structure fire response from his department as well as East Hampton Village Ambulance. Responders found “heavy smoke condition” but only remnants of a fire, he said. Fire department and emergency response vehicles left around 6:30 a.m., said Fire Chief Gerard Turza.

Mr. Rubenstein expressed his appreciation for the speedy response from the fire department and fire marshal’s office. “I got a call and, next thing I know, I get down here and there are, like, 50 people here and trucks and everybody here, and they were great,” he said, adding that he arrived at the scene at 5:20 a.m.

Mr. Rubenstein said that the part of the building that was damaged, which he calls the tennis reception area, will be closed for several months. A temporary reception area has been set up in the entrance to the Clubhouse building in the meantime.

Mr. Rubenstein added that they were able to open the Clubhouse and all six tennis courts for regular hours the day of the fire, noting that they did not have to cut the power to the entire property, due to the quick response.

This was the second fire at the tennis complex this year. Last January, a fire caused by a corroded pipe carrying propane started in a different building and left the complex without power and heat for several days.

“The other fire we had was simple—it was a rusted-out, broken propane pipe that had been in the ground for 24 years. This, I think, is not going to be as simple,” Mr. Rubenstein said.

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Holy smokes! Someone doesn't seem to like that place! Good luck and thank goodness no one was injured
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Dec 26, 18 12:54 PM
Scott and his family are all hard working productive members of the community.
I know this temporary setback will only motivate Scott to make EHIT the premier Tennis spot on the East Rnd of Long Island. Hang in their!!
By mexicokid (21), brooklyn on Jan 3, 19 1:09 PM