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Nov 5, 2013 5:53 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Arson Suspected In Shinnecock Reservation Fire

Nov 6, 2013 10:30 AM

A fire that destroyed the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s gaming authority trailer on the reservation early last week is being investigated as arson after traces of an accelerant were discovered at the scene.

Last week, Southampton Town Fire Marshal Chris Hansen confirmed that the fire was suspicious. He said traces of an unknown accelerant have been sent to the Suffolk County crime lab for analysis. The substance was found with assistance from a Suffolk County accelerant detection dog, he said.

In May, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were seen removing files and searching the trailer at around the time an investigation was launched into activities of the Shinnecock gaming authority, a panel of five tribe members who have handled contract negotiations with Gateway Resort Casinos to put a casino on tribal land in Hampton Bays.

Last Thursday morning, October 31, Mr. Hansen said the fire investigation had been turned over to both the FBI and the New York State Police.

“This was not an accidental fire,” Mr. Hansen said.

New York State Police have confirmed that they are conducting an active investigation into the cause of the fire.

On Thursday morning, State Trooper Eric Baez confirmed that samples had been sent to the Suffolk County crime lab, but despite Mr. Hansen’s statements, the trooper was reluctant to say the fire was a case of arson. He added that the investigation was launched after reports from the Southampton Town, Southampton Village and Suffolk County fire marshals. Trooper Baez said the FBI had been notified, noting that he was aware of the past situation between the law enforcement agency and the tribe, but saying that he could not confirm at this time if the two incidents are related.

On Tuesday night, State Police did not have any update into the investigation and they had no suspects. Representatives of the FBI did not return calls seeking comment.

“This is still under investigation,” Trooper Baez said. “We have a pretty good indication of where it started, but everything is under investigation.”

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The headline says its confirmed arson, but the story says they aren't sure and are waiting results from the lab. Im confused.
By capt. Jack (17), Southampton on Oct 31, 13 12:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Only the Shinnecocks could be granted a license to print money(casino) and screw it up.Their greed and inability to get along because of that greed will forever doom them.Who doesn't think that this arson wasn't used to cover up some criminal activity.Sad !!!!
By bonac refugee (8), east hampton on Oct 31, 13 12:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ha ha. Confirmed as arson. Cool editing.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Oct 31, 13 12:46 PM
I don't get the joke. And since when can poor people be accused of greed? Glad to hear noone got hurt.
By SavageLynx (1), Brooklyn, New York on Oct 31, 13 4:21 PM
There's a lot you don't know Savage. Why do you assume that residents of the rez are poor? The rez is microcosm of the world we all live in. There are some who are doing very well, some who are struggling and some who are in between. There are hardworking honest folks living there and some not so honest folks living there. So yes there is greed, and malfeasance even on the rez.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Nov 1, 13 12:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Shinnecocks are far from poor.Gaming companies have been giving them millions of dollars a year for the right to partner with them in their casino.Tribal corruption ,greed and infighting are dooming the casino plans,
By bonac refugee (8), east hampton on Oct 31, 13 5:01 PM
Did I miss something, are you Shinnecock? Don't attempt to think you know anything, your statement alone reflect you have no idea. So stop trying to be the bearer of knowledge, you don't care about our well being anyway, just an opportunity to vocalize your hate for us. Your username says it all, bunch of anonymous comment thugs. It's funny when a tribe member graduated from Oxford, the first Native to do so, not one response, but something negative and there is so much to say. Just remember Shinnecock ...more
By adczeta (78), southampton on Oct 31, 13 11:06 PM
By LI native (127), east moriches on Nov 1, 13 10:07 PM