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Jul 30, 2014 11:50 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Arson Squad Investigates Water Mill Fire That Destroyed New House

Jul 30, 2014 11:50 AM

The Suffolk County Arson Squad is investigating the cause of a blaze that destroyed a house under construction on Seven Ponds Road in Water Mill on Tuesday night.

A Southampton Fire Department crew responded first to the scene at 18 Seven Ponds Road at 7:12 p.m., finding the large house already fully engulfed in flames. The crew called for mutual aid from several other departments, including the Hampton Bays, North Sea, Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton fire departments, and the Southampton Village and Southampton volunteer ambulances, according to 2nd Assistant Chief Chris Brenner of the Southampton Fire Department.

It is still unclear what caused the blaze that destroyed the partially built house. On Wednesday, arson specialists at the scene said the fire has not been determined to be arson at this time, but that an investigation is under way.

Mr. Brenner reported no injuries at the scene, where Fire Chief Dennis Roy was in charge.

According to the Southampton Town Geographic Information Systems, the house is currently owned by Glenn Fishman of Woodmere.

A neighbor, Ann LaWall, said the mansion has been under construction for quite some time, and replaced a former Halsey family farmhouse that sat on the property. Ms. LaWall had company at the time the fire started, and she said she immediately went outside.

“It was the most intense experience to see a huge house like that burn to the ground,” she said on Wednesday morning. “We went right outside and it was fully engulfed at that point. It was amazing to watch.”

Ms. LaWall said that while the fire was burning, she was most impressed with the roughly 100 firefighters from all over the East End who responded, saying they were extremely professional and worked as hard as possible to save the house.

As of Wednesday morning, the Southampton Town fire marshal’s office and the Suffolk County Police Arson Squad were unavailable for comment.

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It was ugly. Too many gambrels too close together.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jul 30, 14 11:20 AM
Just to be clear --- I didn't do it! I just thought it was unattractive. Sheesh, if every ugly house went up in flames, the Hamptons would be hell on earth.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jul 30, 14 11:24 AM
Photo 8 of 21 ["Enlarge" blue link under photo at top left] in the first version of this article ["See How the Story Unfolded" blue link at top right] has a shot of the house under construction from 3 weeks ago. For a house as long as this one was, from one end to the other, to be fully involved, all at the same stage of the fire's development, begs for an explanation IMO. [See photos 1/21, 3/21 and 7/21 in particular]
By PBR (4945), Southampton on Jul 30, 14 5:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
No sheet rock up yet to act as firewall?
By foodwhiner (146), Southampton on Jul 30, 14 8:08 PM
3 members liked this comment
I was there close to the start and let me tell you this thing was hot and burning like a furnace about 1/2 hour into the blaze something exploded maybe a propane tank maybe chlorine I don't know. I have that part on video and watched it twice... the flames were three times higher then the home at that point so It does not surprise me that the whole house burned to the ground... I am still amazed the little house next door did not catch
By joe hampton (3388), southampton on Jul 31, 14 12:07 AM
Excellent photos, joe.
By PBR (4945), Southampton on Jul 31, 14 6:00 AM
Joe can I get that video?
By MACK (50), Southampton on Jul 31, 14 8:40 AM
sure, I could post it to utube if I find a free moment
Jul 31, 14 10:16 PM appended by joe hampton
Nope cant do it , Just found out Goggle wont let me post to fake u tube account anymore without my providing my phone number for verification .Not going to happen and I am done with them now forever. Its to bad because I thing everyone would have like to see this. Maybe I can drop off a zip drive somewhere if someone has any ideas. But goggle stalks me enough already not going to make it any easier for them!
By joe hampton (3388), southampton on Jul 31, 14 10:16 PM
Joe contact me at 6317748924 I would love to see the video for training purposes. I am one of the chiefs that was there that day.

Thank you
By MACK (50), Southampton on Aug 1, 14 8:03 AM
what department i will drop off a drive with four videos on it
By 27dan (2767), Shinnecock Hills on Aug 1, 14 9:04 AM
Joe emailed them to me last night but I cant upload them for him either for some reason since they are on MP4 formate
By 27dan (2767), Shinnecock Hills on Aug 1, 14 9:06 AM
Seems like someone ran out of money and wanted to cash in on insurance.
By Hayley-JustineGrzybowski (5), Southampton, New York on Jul 30, 14 9:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Let's see....the original house lasted 150 years. The new one lasted 6 months.
Is there a lesson here?
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Jul 31, 14 2:13 PM
Don't lose your financing?
By East End 2 (149), Southampton on Jul 31, 14 6:49 PM
"LIGHTNING" strike?
By bigfresh (4534), north sea on Aug 1, 14 6:17 AM
Verifiable by what was formerly LightningTrax, which is now Verisk Climate/Benchmark Web.

Weather forensics are available at fairly reasonable fees...
By Mr. Z (11540), North Sea on Aug 1, 14 10:41 AM
Great pics Joe.
By dnice (2345), Hampton Bays on Aug 2, 14 10:52 AM
Our volunteer firemen deserve great praise. They sometimes risk thier lives, and often have to leave a warm bed on a cold winter night or a family dinner. As the mother of a volunteer fireman, and the grandmother of one, I applaud each and everyone of them.
By Raccoon mom (6), Shelter island on Aug 3, 14 3:57 PM
Remember the fire at the party house on Jordan Drive in 2012? The house had code violations for having too many people at huge parties every weekend? Did they ever determine what caused that fire? I remember reading stories in 27 East that they were trying to determine what caused the fire, but I don't remember follow up.
By btdt (449), water mill on Aug 6, 14 8:13 PM
It doesn't seem as if they can even determine the cause of these fires. Or else the local media simply won't report on the cause. Because one never sees a follow up on what caused the fires in these giant uninhabited homes that burn like dry haystacks.
By btdt (449), water mill on Aug 8, 14 1:03 PM
No follow up is SOP for this paper. For example: Whatever happened with Justice Barbara Wilson's driveway controversy. Coverage just stopped after I believe hundreds of people commented!
By Arnold Timer (326), Sag Harbor on Aug 8, 14 7:25 PM
Hampton Bays Rotary, Autumn Evening by the Sea, Oakland's, HB Rotary