Fire Marshal Still Investigating Blaze That Gutted Westhampton Home, Burning One Occupant

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A Westhampton woman is being treated for burns to her upper body at Stony Brook University Hospital after a fast-moving fire destroyed her North Quarter Road house on Sunday afternoon, killing three dogs.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire that was called into the Westhampton Beach Fire Department at around 3:45 p.m. Six people were home at the time of the blaze, though all had exited the burning building prior to help arriving, officials said.

Belinda Mangone, 61, one of the homeowners, suffered burns to her upper body and was taken via Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance to the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital, where she is listed in good condition, according to Southampton Town Police and the Southampton Town Fire Marshal. One other occupant declined medical attention, officials said. No firefighters were injured battling the blaze.

Three small dogs were found dead inside the gutted house, authorities said.

Westhampton Beach Fire Chief Ross Donneson, one of the first to respond to the alarm at 47 North Quarter Road, said the house was fully engulfed by flames when the first volunteers arrived. He said he immediately called for backup, with the Eastport and Quogue fire departments responding to the scene, and the East Moriches department on standby. The Southampton Town Police and Town Fire Marshal also responded.

Though he is still investigating the cause of the fire, Southampton Town Fire Marshal John Rankin said Tuesday that he does not suspect foul play. He added that it appears that the fire started on the ground floor of the two-story home, adding that they are investigating a possible illegal apartment in the rear of the home.

“It is still currently under investigation,” Mr. Rankin said on Tuesday. “We do not have a cause, but it is not considered to be suspicious at this point. The house looks like it will be a total loss because they had some pretty severe structural damage.”

Sparks from the blaze ignited nearby woods but firefighters were able to quickly contain and extinguish the flames before they could spread to neighboring homes. Westhampton Beach firefighters had to return to the scene three times over the next 24 hours as several hot spots threatened to flare up, officials said.

Because the house is located at the end of a cul-de-sac in the North Quarter subdivision, firefighters closed both North Quarter Road and a portion of Old Country Road so they could more easily access the house. Firefighters remained on scene for more than three hours on Sunday, finally deeming the blaze out at around 7 p.m.

“We did the best we could,” Chief Donneson said on Monday morning. “The guys did a good job, but the house was too far gone.”

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