Arson Suspected In Fire That Destroyed Gaming Authority Trailer

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UPDATE: Thursday, 12 p.m.

New York State Police have confirmed they are conducting an active investigation into the cause of the fire.

On Thursday morning, State Trooper Eric Baez confirmed that samples have been sent to the Suffolk County crime lab, but despite Mr. Hansen’s statements was reluctant to say the fire was an arson. He added that the investigation was launched after reports from the Southampton Town, Southampton Village, and Suffolk County fire marshals.

Trooper Baez also said the FBI has been notified at this time, noting that he was aware of the past situation between the law enforcement agency and the tribe, but could not confirm at this time if the two incidents are related.

State police have no suspects at this time.

“This is still under investigation,” Trooper Baez said. “We have a pretty good indication of where it started but everything is under investigation.”

ORIGINAL STORY

A fire that destroyed the Shinnecock Tribe gaming authority trailer late Tuesday night is being investigated as arson after traces of an accelerant were discovered on scene, authorities have confirmed.

On Thursday morning, Southampton Town Fire Marshal Chris Hansen confirmed that the fire was suspicious, and traces of an unknown accelerant have been sent to the Suffolk County crime lab for analysis. The substance was found, he said with assistance from a Suffolk County Canine Accelerant Detection dog.

The Shinnecock gaming authority, a panel of five tribe members who have handled contract negotiations with Gateway Resort Casinos, has recently come under fire when an investigation was launched in May by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into illicit activities by the group. At the time, FBI agents were seen removing files and searching the trailer.

As of Thursday morning, Mr. Hansen said the fire investigation has been turned over to both the FBI and the New York State Police.

“This was not an accidental fire,” Mr. Hansen said.

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