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Nov 1, 2008 10:00 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fire in North Sea guts house, injures three

Nov 1, 2008 10:00 AM

Three people were injured early Saturday morning as they fled a burning North Sea home, according to Southampton Town Police.

The blaze consumed the interior of the two-story house at 3 Maple Avenue, located off Water Mill-Towd Road. The heat of the blaze melted much of the house’s vinyl siding, leaving the exterior of the house black and charred.

Southampton Town dispatchers first received 911 calls at about 4:52 a.m. on Saturday, and police said callers reported that the house’s occupants were trying to escape from the home and might be injured.

When police and members of the North Sea Fire Department arrived at the fire scene minutes later, the occupants had already escaped. One person jumped from a window to escape the flames, police said.

Southampton Town Fire Marshal Al Tyczkowski, who was on the scene, noted that a woman was taken to Southampton Hospital with cuts on her hands, and a male victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Town Police confirmed that an ambulance took one person to the hospital and two other occupants went to the hospital in a private vehicle. Police said they did not know the extent of the victims’ injuries. No firefighters were reported to have been injured.

The house belongs to Joe Gazza, a Quogue real estate developer and attorney. Mr. Gazza said Tuesday that his tenants’ large-screen projection television was the apparent cause of the fire. Fire officials also said the television was the cause, although the results of an investigation are still pending.

The tenants, painter Alex Posada and his family, had been living there for about a year, Mr. Gazza said.

The developer said he built the house in 1994 and has been renting it since 1995. The house is one of his approximately 11 Southampton rentals, he said. Mr. Gazza said he used to have more rental properties but had reducing his holdings in recent years.

Mr. Gazza said he expected that the North Sea house would have be demolished. “I don’t think there’s anything that can be saved, except the foundation,” he said.

Other local fire departments responded to the scene or moved into a standby position for the North Sea Fire Department in the event of other emergencies. Southampton Fire Department spokesman Christopher Brenner said his department sent a tanker and pumper truck to the scene, and kept another truck on standby at North Sea’s main firehouse on Noyac Road.

At noon on Saturday, two trucks and several North Sea firefighters continued to sort through the black soot and debris at the scene.

Mr. Gazza said he has not decided what he will do with the property. “I don’t know what I want to do,” he said. “I’m tired of being a landlord, and to rebuild and to attempt to sell is probably not a great idea right now, because every fifth house is for sale.”

Staff writers Katy Gurley, Dawn Watson and Neil Salvaggio contributed to this story.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By local414 (10), southampton on Nov 1, 08 6:49 PM
Joe Gazza is a saint.
By rabbit (65), watermill on Nov 13, 08 9:31 AM