Still No Answers In Fire That Destroyed Historic Home In Sagaponack

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Southampton Town Police say they are awaiting results of forensic laboratory analysis of evidence collected at the scene of a fire that destroyed a historic house in Sagaponack earlier this month and was deemed suspicious by investigators.

Town Police Captain Larry Schurek said that detectives are still investigating the fire and that lab results may shed light on possible proof of the fire’s genesis. He would not say what items were being analyzed.

On the day of the fire, which broke out before dawn on September 15, firefighters said that a gas can and gas-soaked rags were found in a cemetery adjacent the house.

Early in the investigation police were reported to have been seeking a “person of interest” for questioning in relation to the fire, though it is not known whether they knew the identity of the person they sought. Neighborhood residents reported having seen an unknown man in the cemetery shortly after the fire broke out, but it is not known whether he is a suspect or just a passerby.

Capt. Schurek could not confirm or deny word that police had questioned a local contractor in relation to the fire investigation. He said that there have not been any arrests related to the investigation.

The fire was investigated first by Southampton Town Fire Marshals then the Suffolk County Police Arson Squad, before being turned over to the Town Police detectives.

The house, portions of which are believed to have dated back to the 17th century, was almost entirely destroyed, though parts of the structure still remain standing. The house, at 850 Sagaponack Main Street, was owned by Peter L. Smith, a Connecticut resident, who was not in the area at the time of the fire.

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