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Cops: Stolen Fuel Truck Outside Burning Home Sparked Blaze

No one was home during the blaze, fire department officials said.

A Thursday morning fire in Riverhead gutted a single-family residence -- and sparked an investigation regarding an allegedly stolen fuel truck parked outside, police said.

According to Riverhead Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Kevin Brooks, a fire broke out at approximately 7:20 Thursday morning in a home located at 79 Phillips Street, in the Millbrook Gables community, off East Main Street.

The fire, Brooks said, is currently under police investigation; the home, which was unoccupied at the time of the blaze, is a one-story ranch, he added.

Riverhead Town police said the investigation is not focused on arson.

According to police, an allegedly stolen fuel truck was found in the driveway of the burning home. Suffolk County Police Seventh Squad Detectives, Riverhead police said, are investigating the missing fuel truck.

Riverhead police received two calls, one in reference to the fire and the other, to the missing fuel truck, which was spotted at the location.

Police said they believe fuel from the truck parked in the driveway was being placed into the residence; the fuel allegedly ignited and started the blaze, which began in the basement.

The home, which was gutted, Brooks, said, is still standing. "I was the first chief on the scene and a picture window was blowing out when I got there -- and I got there quickly. The home is absolutely uninhabitable," he said.

The fire, he added, was difficult to fight -- firefighters were on the scene for approximately two hours -- due to "extremely high heat in the basement," with "heavy fire load" at that location in the house. "It was extremely hot in the basement so it was hard to advance on the fire," he said.

Both the Riverhead Police Department and the Riverhead Fire Marshal are investigating the fire, Brooks added.

Dennis December 24, 2012 at 05:38 PM
A stolen fuel truck? In THE GREENS??? ...You can imagine my surprise. Why don't the folks in that neighborhood start a "neighborhood watch," of sorts, where the good folks get together and start DEMANDING that their neighbors behave like responsible citizens???? I'd bet they can change that area and its reputation within a very short time!
Dennis January 22, 2013 at 01:07 AM
What fuel were they pumping in the home? Fuel oil does not ingnite from a spark.. Cant imagine propane tanks INSIDE a home... Somen aint rite
Dennis January 22, 2013 at 01:08 AM
So the readers arent confused,............Im the "other" Dennis :-)

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