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Nov 4, 2017 9:10 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Firefighters Respond To Bed-And-Breakfast Blaze In Westhampton

The Westhampton Beach ladder truck was used to vent the fire. COURTESY WESTHAMPTON BEACH FIRE DEPARTMENT
Nov 7, 2017 10:30 AM

Authorities are still investigating the cause of a Friday night fire that damaged a waterfront home in Westhampton that also serves as a bed-and-breakfast.

Jeanne Dooley, the caretaker of the Beaver Dam Creek House on Pleasant Avenue, said on Monday morning that she was attempting to retrieve her cellphone charger from her second-floor bedroom—not part of the five-bedroom bed-and-breakfast, which was unoccupied at the time—when she opened the door to the room and was hit by a wall of smoke.

Ms. Dooley, who explained that she was taking care of the business for her stepfather, William Sawyer, said she immediately dialed 911.

The Westhampton Beach Fire Department received the call at 8:17 p.m., and firefighters quickly completed an interior search of the two-story building, according to fire officials. Ethan Theune, the 2nd assistant chief, led those firefighters who determined that the building was unoccupied, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters had the blaze under control in less than 30 minutes, noting that it was mostly confined to the second-floor bedroom above the house’s garage, according to Westhampton Beach Fire Department Chief Billy Dalton. The bed-and-breakfast part of the building was not damaged in the blaze, according to Ms. Dooley.

Using the department’s ladder truck, firefighters broke a skylight to help ventilate the smoke.

“It was an old, old house,” Chief Dalton said on Monday. “We had to make sure the fire didn’t extend anywhere else.”

The bed-and-breakfast’s website states that the building dates back to the 1880s.

Even though his volunteers managed to quickly extinguish the flames, Chief Dalton noted that the bed-and-breakfast sits on nearly 2 acres, and roughly a “good quarter mile” from the nearest hydrant. “When you have that much of a distance, you use a lot of hose,” he said.

He added that firefighters, who included volunteers from Eastport and East Moriches, remained on scene for approximately one hour to ensure that hot spots did not flare up. He added that they were forced to pull down some interior drywall so they could inspect the building’s duct system.

Southampton Town Chief Fire Marshal Cheryl Kraft said on Monday that Brian Williams, the marshal in charge of the investigation, had not yet filed his report. The fire’s cause, she added, remains under investigation.

Westhampton Beach 3rd Assistant Chief Kevin Raynor was the first person on the scene on Friday night, and crew members with the Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance also responded, as did the Southampton Town Police.

As for Ms. Dooley, she said the bed-and-breakfast would remain closed for the time being, and declined to speculate how much it would cost to repair the business, or when it could possibly reopen.

“I just lost everything I own,” she said. “When you lose all of your personal possessions, you will understand.”

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East Moriches Fire Department and the Eastport Fire Department responded to the scene.
By Neely (17), Westhampton Beach on Nov 4, 17 2:08 PM
Can anyone put out a fire without calling the bulk of Suffolk towns?
By Hambone (514), New York on Nov 4, 17 2:33 PM
Says the guy who's never seen an out of control fire... a sheltered life you must lead.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Nov 4, 17 8:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
obviously you are not a fire fighter and have no understanding how things work for your safety
By hamptonsnrcit (47), sag harbor on Nov 4, 17 5:25 PM
2 members liked this comment