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Early morning fire destroys garage behind Southold home

Flames were shooting through the roof of a detached garage behind a Pine Avenue home as Southold Fire chief Jim Rich arrived on scene early Saturday morning.

“It was burning pretty well when we got there,” said Mr. Rich, who was one of the first firefighters on scene.

A few minutes earlier, a neighbor knocked on the door of the home to wake the homeowners and alert them to the fire.

“By the time we saw it, it was totally engulfed,” the homeowner recalled a few hours later, declining to provide his name for fear of solicitations. “The entire roof was burnt up.”

The homeowners feared the fire could spread to the house, which they have lived in since 1969, or a neighbor’s house.

“You’re just thankful that it wasn’t the house on fire,” the homeowner said. “You’re just thankful that nobody got injured.”

The Southold Fire Department navigated the narrow, windy roads to reach the house in time to prevent the fire from spreading to any houses or a separate guest cottage located adjacent to the garage in the backyard. The fire was quickly contained once the fire department arrived at about 4:30 a.m.

Mr. Rich said it was a calm night with little wind, which helped prevent the fire from spreading. Getting equipment to the fire, though, did present a challenge.

“It was down a hill and private, narrow roads,” he said. “It’s an older community. It’s a big challenge to get equipment in and out in an orderly fashion. But the guys did a tremendous job.”

The cause of the fire remains unclear. Mr. Rich said he didn’t know how the fire started. The Suffolk County Arson Squad responded to the scene to investigate as a routine matter and could not immediately determine a cause of the fire, Mr. Rich said. Foul play was not suspected.

“We have deer fencing up so we would notice if the fence was down,” the homeowner said. “The fences were all up when we got up.”

The homeowner said it’s the first time he can recall a fire in the neighborhood during all the years he’s lived there.

The fire department was on scene for about an hour and half, Mr. Rich said.

Photo caption: The remains of the garage fire on Saturday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

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