Southold Town Police are investigating the cause of a fire that broke out during overnight hours at Strong’s Water Club and Marina in Mattituck, Police Chief Martin Flatley said.
A Mattituck resident called police at approximately 2:49 a.m. Tuesday and reported the smell of plastic burning, police said.
Police responded and were able to locate the fire outside on the south side of a storage building, police said. Four customer-owned boats stationed on land were fully engulfed in flames when police arrived.
Owner Jeff Strong said the fire ignited in one boat and spread to three adjacent boats.
Members of the Mattituck Fire Department responded to the scene at 2:55 a.m. and were able to contain the fire to the four vessels, said Chief Ted Webb.
The fire department extinguished the fire by 6 a.m. No injuries were reported.
General manager Timothy Norton said he arrived at the scene slightly after 3 a.m. to assess the situation. The fire was still “smoldering” at that time, he said.
“A boat is basically made of petroleum,” Mr. Norton said. “So everything that went up earlier, it ignited and it melted down to nothing. Basically what happens is you can have different components inside there that continue to ember and flash back up.”
Mr. Norton said one of larger sailboats that went up in flames had been dormant for several years. The other boats, he said, have not been used in about a year.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by Suffolk County Arson Squad and Southold Town Detective Division, police said.
Mr. Strong said the cause of the fire is “suspicious” as it doesn’t appear the fire self-ignited.
“This was an isolated area where we keep boats in the summertime,” he said. “It’s not like these boats were in for service, the customers just chose them not to put their boats in the water this year.”
No buildings or docks were damaged as a result of the fire, police said.
The area is accessible to the public, Mr. Strong said, but customers would need approval and assistance from marina staff before moving or using a vessel, he said.
Photo caption: Mattituck firefighters on scene of the boat fire early Tuesday morning. (Credit: Courtesy of Mattituck Fire Department)