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Series of Dumpster Fires Spark Investigation

Dumpster fires were reported in Riverhead, Hampton Bays and Westhampton Beach over the weekend.

Riverhead and Southampton Fire Marshals are investigating a series of Dumpster fires that were reported over the weekend.

Firefighters from across the area were at the scene of a total of 10 Dumpster fires since Saturday; 5 in Riverhead, 3 in Hampton Bays and 2 in Westhampton Beach.

In Riverhead, a fire that ignited in a trash compactor behind T.J. Maxxon Route 58 in Riverhead was extinguished Saturday night.

According to Riverhead police, a report came in regarding a trash compactor that caught fire at approximately 7:30 p.m on Saturday. The Riverhead Fire Department arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire, police said.

Riverhead Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Kevin Brooks said when firefighters responded, the fire was significant.

"It was pretty much involved," Brooks said. "There was a lot of smoke."

The fire, which was located in the compactor at the rear of the building, spread to a chute at the rear of the building, but did not damage the structure, he said.

The store was evacuated; no one was hurt. Firefighters extinguished the blaze by 8 p.m., Brooks said.

No cause was immediately given for the fire; the incident is currently under investigation by the Riverhead fire marshal.

Over the next two days, four additional Dumpster fires were reported in Riverhead, police said. Three were reported at the same address, 1355 Roanoke Avenue. The first took place on Saturday at 2:59 p.m., the next, on Sunday at 5:33 p.m., and the third, on Monday morning at 9:43 a.m.

Another fire was reported on Sunday at 1149 Old Country Road at 11 a.m. Sunday, according to police, when a large Dumpster fire was reported that officials believe to have been intentionally started.

"It seemed really suspicious that there were two dumpsters on fire at the same time that were 100 feet apart," said Chip Bancroft, chief of the Westhampton Beach Fire Department.

Bancroft said Westhampton Beach responded to the fires at 4:35 p.m. on Sunday at 10 Parlato Drive and managed to put them out within 10 minutes.

In Hampton Bays, Chief John Tedesco said his department responded to four dumpster fires over the weekend, but only three are under investigation.

"We aren't sure what is going on, "but there is an investigation," said Tedesco.

The first fire broke out in a Dumpster at 145 Montauk Highway on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with a second just a short while later at 22 East Montauk Highway.

Both he said were put out fairly quickly.

A third call came in about an hour later at a home at 34 Shinnecock Road, but that fire, he said, was due to fireplace ashes being placed in a home Dumpster.

The third fire call came in at 11 p.m on Sunday. That fire was in a Dumpster across the lot from the first Dumpster fire at 145 Montauk Highway.

 

 

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