Firefighters respond to mulch fire near landfill

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Cutchogue firefighters responded to a call about a fire near the landfill Monday morning.

A mulch pile caught fire early Monday on the property of a private company just west of the Cutchogue landfill. Between 75 and 105 firefighters from four departments were called to extinguish the blaze. No injuries were reported.

Cutchogue Fire Chief Drew McCaffery and several dozen firefighters were still on the scene at 10 a.m., two hours after the fire was extinguised. Mr. McCaffery said that his department received a call that the mulch pile was on fire from Southold Town Police  about 5 a.m., and that town police were on the scene when firefighters arrived.

“It was a spontaneous combustion. This happens in cold weather,” Mr. McCaffery said of the fire. “We had one here three years ago that was the same thing, but it was a bigger fire.”

He said the fire was not suspicious in nature. Firefighters and representatives from the town landfill said that they believed the property was owned by Delea Sod Farms, but Delea Sod Farms’ office in Miller Place denied this morning that the property belonged to the company. Representatives from DeLalio Sod Farms, another local sod company, also said that the property likely belonged to Delea.

Mr. McCaffery said the mulch pile was about 25 feet high, 125 feet long and 70 to 75 feet wide. Two payloader operators were called in to help spread the mulch out so that the fire could burn out, he said. Firefighters from the Cutchogue, Mattituck, Southold and Greenport fire departments were called to the scene. Jamesport Fire Department was on standby for Mattituck, and Riverhead Fire Department was on standby for Cutchogue. Mr. McCaffery said that Southold responded to a motor vehicle accident in Cutchogue during the fire. No further information about that accident was immediately available.

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