Officials still have not determined the cause of the massive blaze that consumed the Sandpiper co-op on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach on Wednesday afternoon.
The initial call came in at 3 p.m. as both an automatic alarm and a brush fire, but Westhampton Beach Fire Chief Ross Donneson said it was clear to him, as it was for many on the north side of Moriches Bay, that it was, in fact, a structure fire, so he called in additional support.
Roughly 150 volunteers from the Westhampton Beach, Quogue, East Quogue, Easport, Flanders, East Moriches and Riverhead fire departments, as well as the Westhampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the East Moriches Community Ambulance were on scene until 2 a.m., Chief Donneson said, as were Westhampton Beach Police and Southampton Town Fire Marshals.
No injuries were reported.
“Everybody did a great job,” Chief Donneson said. “We were rotating crews in throughout the night and everything went smoothly.”
Several workers were doing renovation work inside the seasonally-occupied condominium complex when the fire started, but the property manager was the only person living there at the time of the fire, Westhampton Beach Police Chief Trevor Gonce said.
It’s not clear how the fire started, but it appears to have originated in the middle of the building and likely started on the ground floor before spreading in both directions, Chief Donneson said. Southampton Town Fire Marshals are investigating the conflagration.
With winds blowing north to south, the fire was easier to contain, Chief Donneson said, adding that the siding on the condominium complex directly to the east, which was between 50 and 75 feet from the Sandpiper building, melted because of the fire’s intense heat.
The 54-unit building has large propane tanks on both its east and west ends, which Chief Donneson said were secured by firefighters who kept the area doused with water.
“We saved what we could obviously, but a structure like that, when it’s that involved, all you can do is keep it contained and make sure everyone in the area is protected,” he said.
Several hours after the fire started, utility lines directly in front of the complex gave way to the heat and snapped, Chief Gonce said, knocking out electricity for all of Dune Road to the west. The fire also disrupted Optimum internet service in the area.
Firefighters were battling a large fire at the Sandpiper condominium complex on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach Wednesday afternoon.
Details were sketchy, but the Westhampton Beach, Eastport, Riverhead and Quogue fire departments responded to the scene. The Westhampton Memorial Ambulance and East Moriches ambulance were also on the scene. It was unclear if there were any injuries due to the fire.
Smoke could reportedly be seen for miles.