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Mar 8, 2014 3:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Wife Recounts Narrow Escape From Deadly Sagaponack Blaze

Mar 12, 2014 10:35 AM

UPDATE: Tuesday, 4:45 p.m.

The second occupant of the Sagaponack home that went up in flames early Saturday morning, Lovella Beres, escaped serious injury despite trying desperately to save her husband, Jim Beres, who died in the blaze.

Mr. Beres, a smoker who uses a home oxygen tank according to family members, got up in the middle of the night and was on the sofa watching television, she said.

Hours later, while asleep upstairs, Mrs. Beres said she was woken up by the sound of smoke detectors and ran downstairs to find her husband struggling to put out the flames engulfing his clothing.

Mrs. Beres said she tried to put the flames out and save her husband of about 50 years, throwing blankets on him, but couldn't surpress the flames. She said the house quickly filled with thick black smoke, and after sustaining burns trying to save Mr. Beres, she fled the house.

"It was just in time too," she said. "You couldn't see anything and things started to explode. It was just horrible."

In the end, Mrs. Beres said she wants to celebrate the life she was such a big part of, "the life of a wonderful man, a kind person with a love of people and animals, and a brilliant artist."

UPDATE: Monday, 11:30 a.m.

Arson is being ruled out as the cause of the deadly Narrow Lane blaze, according to Detective Lieutenant Darrel Simmons of the Suffolk County Police Arson Squad, but the fire is still under investigation. Mr. Simmons declined to confirm the cause of the fire, but said it is being classified as non-criminal and town police detectives will continue trying to determine a cause.

UPDATE: Monday, 11:15 a.m.

Southampton Town Fire Marshall John Rankin said Monday that Saturday morning's deadly fire at 198 Narrow Lane East is being handled by the Southampton Town Police detectives division and is still under investigation. Mr. Rankin would not offer any other details as to the cause or length of the fire, or the identity or condition of the other occupant of the house.

The detectives division was unable to be reached for further explanation or comment on Monday.

Town property records indicate the home is owned by Lovella Beres, Mr. Beres' wife. Calls to Ms. Beres' went unreturned Monday morning.

UPDATE: Saturday, 3:15 p.m.

A 71-year-old man and his dog both died in the fire on Saturday morning, the cause of which is still under investigation, according to a press release from Southampton Town Police.

The man, who has been identified by police as James Beres, 71, died in the fire that was called into police at 5:57 a.m., police said. Upon arriving on scene, emergency responders found the home at 198 Narrow Lane East fully engulfed in flames.

Another, unidentified resident of the home was able to escape the blaze with only minor injuries.

The Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor fire and ambulance companies, as well as the Southampton and East Hampton fire departments, all responded to the scene to assist in search and rescue and extinguishing the blaze.

The cause of the fire is still unknown and is under investigation by the Southampton Town Police Detectives in conjunction with the Southampton Town Fire Marshals, the Suffolk County Police Arson Unit, the Suffolk County Police Crime Scene Unit, and the Medical Examiner.


Narrow Lane in Sagaponack remains closed this afternoon as officials investigate the cause of an early morning fire that destroyed a house.

According to volunteers, the arson squad is on scene investigating the fire, but it is unclear what prompted the unit to be called in. The fire, located at 198 Narrow Lane, was reported to officials at approximately 6 a.m. on Saturday.

Representatives from the Bridgehampton Fire Department did not immediately return calls seeking comment, and Southampton Town Police had no information as of early Saturday afternoon.

As of 2 p.m., Narrow Lane was closed to traffic and pedestrians at Wainscott Harbor Road.

It is unclear at this time if anyone was injured as a result of the fire.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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Saw the smoke on way to work... Sad, Condolences to the family
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Mar 8, 14 11:38 PM
whats with the "wife" instead of "woman" or "resident" in the title
seems kind of sexist to me?
By llimretaw (118), watermill on Mar 13, 14 7:56 PM
Article was written by a "woman", but keep looking for wrongs that aren't there.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Mar 13, 14 9:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
Plus Mrs. Beres apparently referred to her "husband." The suggestion of sexist reporting seems way off the mark.

Condolences to Mrs. Beres, and to their friends and family for this tragic loss.

Rest in peace.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Mar 13, 14 9:22 PM
It says wife because thats what she was to him, His wife......
By tookatz (83), westhampton beach on Mar 18, 14 11:44 AM