Fire officials label fire as suspicious

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A fire that damaged several storage sheds near a shuttered motel in Westhampton Beach nearly two weeks ago might have been deliberately set, according to Southampton Town fire officials.

Southampton Town Fire Marshal John Rankin said this week that the fire on the grounds of the Bailey’s Motel, a closed business located on the north side of Montauk Highway, has been labeled as suspicious. The motel is located across the street from Casa Basso restaurant. No injuries were reported.

“Through the course of the investigation, we determined that the fire began outside the buildings at the motel,” Mr. Rankin said. “Other evidence at the scene suggests it’s suspicious.”

He noted that the fire is still under investigation.

The fire, which damaged several storage sheds on the motel property, started at around 3:30 p.m. on March 29, according to Fred Bauer, the public information officer for the Westhampton Beach Fire Department. He said that the fire began in a grass area near the buildings and did not spread to the main house of Bailey’s motel.

“The fire got to the storage buildings,” Mr. Bauer said.

Residents who live near the shuttered motel have complained in the past that squatters have been living in the vacant buildings. It is not clear at this time if the fire was started by anyone living in one of the vacant buildings.

Mr. Bauer said the fire was extinguished quickly, noting that firefighters left the scene in less than an hour. He estimated that approximately 40 firefighters responded to the alarm.

Mr. Bauer said the property did not sustain heavy damage. He also noted that the main building is scheduled for demolition.

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