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Oct 12, 2016 10:09 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

FBI Investigating August Fire On Shinnecock Reservation

The FBI is investigating the August 26 fire that occured at the Collins home on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
Oct 12, 2016 10:22 AM

A fire that destroyed a family home on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in late August is under investigation by the FBI, the law enforcement agency confirmed on Tuesday.

Five people barely escaped the fire on Thunderbird Lane on August 26. State Police said arson was strongly suspected, though little else has been released about the cause of the blaze.

When reached this week, a spokeswoman for the FBI, who declined to be identified, said it is common for the agency to review active arson investigations on Native American reservations, adding that the agency is aware of the recent incident on the Shinnecock Reservation and is looking into it.

The fire was reported to emergency responders at 3:30 a.m. on Friday, August 26. By the time firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames, eventually burning down to the studs. The house was occupied by five people when the fire started—Dan Collins Jr., his wife, Laura, their two children and Mr. Collins’s niece. A second house and several cars on the property also caught fire.

The FBI spokeswoman could not give any other information about the investigation this week, including if there are any suspects at this time.

This is not the first time the FBI has investigated reports of arson on the reservation: There have been three cases since 2013. In the first instance, accelerants were found around a fire that destroyed the Shinnecock Indian Nation Gaming Authority trailer, just six months after the FBI was seen removing files and searching the trailer for evidence surrounding the Gaming Authority, which was tasked with exploring gaming options for the tribe.

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