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Nov 11, 2011 4:48 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Amagansett House Destroyed By Fire Thought To Be Caused By Dogs

Nov 15, 2011 5:01 PM

Two dogs left alone with a box of cupcakes most likely started the fire that destroyed an Amagansett house on Friday afternoon, according to investigators.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, but the two dogs perished. One person, a member of one of two families who co-own the house, was treated at the scene for minor cuts suffered while breaking a window in hopes of freeing the dogs.

Firefighters from the Amagansett Fire Department battled the blaze for some three hours with the help of crews from every department in East Hampton Town and Bridgehampton. Their efforts were hampered by difficulties with water pressure and supply and by concerns that a propane storage tank next to the house could possibly explode.

East Hampton Town Chief Fire Marshal Dave Browne said an investigation of the house after the fire uncovered evidence that it may have been started by the dogs themselves.

The owners of the house, Peter Kraft and John Kiely and their families, both of New Jersey, were visiting for the weekend and had left the dogs in the house while they went out midday on Friday. They also left two boxes of cupcakes atop the kitchen stove, according to the account they gave fire investigators.

Mr. Browne said he found evidence that the dogs had gotten to the cupcakes and, in doing so, had accidentally turned on one of the gas burners on the kitchen stove.

“The dogs died in the fire, but they got sick before they died,” Mr. Browne said of the two Labrador retrievers. “In the vomit we found bits of cupcake wrappers. The owners told us they had left the cupcakes on the stove, so we dug until we found the stove and we found one of the burners in the on position, the rest were off.”

Mr. Browne said that fire marshals believe that the dogs hit one of the burners with a paw while trying to get at the cupcakes, pushing it into the on position and igniting the flame, which then may have ignited one of the cupcake boxes and, subsequently, cabinets above it. He said he has found reports from around the country of dogs having started fires in the past and a video on the website YouTube.com of a dog turning on the burner of an identical stove while trying to get at something on top of it.

“If they hadn’t said anything about the cupcakes we’d probably still be digging through [the remains of the house],” Mr. Browne said.

The fire was reported by the homeowners, who returned home about 3:30 p.m. to find the kitchen area of the house engulfed in flames. As the flames spread quickly the families broke several windows to the house, calling to the dogs inside.

By the time firefighters arrived at the scene a large portion of the house was ablaze. The house sits atop a small hill, up a long driveway from the nearest road and fire hydrant. Firefighters found that the water pressure they could muster from the hydrant was weak.

The Amagansett and Springs fire department crews called in tanker trucks from East Hampton, Montauk, Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton fire departments to bolster their supply, but the location of the house made pumping water to the scene difficult even with the powerful pumper trucks. On at least one occasion a supply hose burst under the pressure of pushing the water uphill.

Adding to the difficulty was the presence of a propane tank on the side of the house, on which a pressure relief valve had released, spraying a flame of propane against the house. Firemen said they could not extinguish the flame because if they did the propane escaping from the overheated tank could spread unseen and reignite, endangering firefighters and others in the area.

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What I would really like to say would be deleted bur this tragedy was 100% avoidable
By Q333 (161), Southampton on Nov 16, 11 12:29 PM
How important and superior that must make you feel.
By tm (174), mtk on Nov 16, 11 3:07 PM
First, they left the dogs ALONE in the house for the WEEKEND!
Second... The cupcakes were left on top of the gas stove in a cardboard box...
The only conclusion that makes sense is that they were not that bright in leaving two labs in a house alone for the weekend with cupcakes in a box on the stove..

NOT BRIGHT... But the fire sure was.
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 19, 11 4:27 PM
you're compassion for this family is really touching.
By tm (174), mtk on Nov 21, 11 10:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
*your
By tm (174), mtk on Nov 21, 11 12:03 PM
I have no concern for stupidity... this is a very sad state of affairs when society is operated in a state of continual rushing to get places and do things.. and in doing so, forget the simplest things that revolve around the most basic of human thought: Common Sense.
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 23, 11 10:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
You also appear to have no concern for common decency
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Nov 23, 11 10:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
something tells me that, if this family was ever presented in front of you, you wouldnt have the nerve to tell them that you dont feel sorry for them, to tell their children that their parents' stupidity is to blame for their misfortune, and that you are, by the tone of your posting, effectively happy that they got what was coming to them.

how sad your life must be, and how poetic that your lack of compassion comes through at thanksgiving.

I can only hope that you are the worst ...more
By tm (174), mtk on Nov 23, 11 2:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
What? Can't stomach the truth? That this very unfortunate accident was caused by lack of thought? No, I don't feel sorry for them.. why? Because, like all human beings.. they're gifted with the ability to think.

And just for the record, my "tone" did not, in any way imply that I was in effect, happy that this senseless tragedy HAD TO HAPPEN. That, my dear... was YOUR perception.

And yet another thing.. my compassion brightly shines at all times of the year.. From helping a newcomer ...more
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 25, 11 11:02 AM
Judge orders DA's office to investigate alleged call made following Linda Kabot's DWI arrest
"Aahh, golfbuddy is back! You are either Linda's husband, bartender, or an obsessed stalker. But don't worry, you'll have plenty of time to get reacquainted after she loses." Oct 29, 09 8:18 AM"

And apparantly, neither do you... which part of that labeling sentance is "decent." And the following one?? That's respectful and decent as well?

Your Words.
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 25, 11 11:09 AM
how sad
By tm (174), mtk on Nov 28, 11 4:55 PM
Denial, huh? Well, that'll get you far.
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 29, 11 7:04 AM
denial about what exactly?

i just cant believe your lack of compassion, thats really about it.
By tm (174), mtk on Nov 29, 11 9:26 AM
Your denial to see the other side...

Believe you me.. I'm not the most compassionate person out there, but at least I have the intestinal fortitude to see both sides of the coin. Also, when one side tends to be more, let's say.. confrontational because it's not PC and accepted as the "right way to feel".. yep, I bring that side to light.

I apologize if my black and white with a little bit of red viewpoint disturbs you, but.. fortunatly for the people who occupy this country, ...more
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 29, 11 11:37 AM
Of course it was preventable. And the family will have to live with the fact it was preventable. None of that is the point.

The point is, and has always been, your contemptible lack of compassion for a family who lost their pets and their belongings in this fire.
By tm (174), mtk on Nov 29, 11 7:15 PM
It's not compassion.. it's fact. You don't leave two dogs... at home... alone... for the weekend.. with or without food. PERIOD. End of story.

By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 30, 11 5:10 PM
youre life seems empty and sad, and no longer worthy of my time. if you feel so strongly about how they caused their own problems, feel free to seek them out and let them know face to face.
By tm (174), mtk on Dec 1, 11 12:29 PM
and lastly - the dogs were left in the house for a matter of hours, not a weekend.
By tm (174), mtk on Dec 1, 11 12:32 PM