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Apr 15, 2015 4:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Cause Still Unknown For Fire That Destroyed Dune Road Condos

Apr 17, 2015 9:34 AM

UPDATE: Thursday, 8:40 a.m.

Officials still have not determined the cause of the massive blaze that consumed the Sandpiper co-op on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach on Wednesday afternoon.

The initial call came in at 3 p.m. as both an automatic alarm and a brush fire, but Westhampton Beach Fire Chief Ross Donneson said it was clear to him, as it was for many on the north side of Moriches Bay, that it was, in fact, a structure fire, so he called in additional support.

Roughly 150 volunteers from the Westhampton Beach, Quogue, East Quogue, Easport, Flanders, East Moriches and Riverhead fire departments, as well as the Westhampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the East Moriches Community Ambulance were on scene until 2 a.m., Chief Donneson said, as were Westhampton Beach Police and Southampton Town Fire Marshals.

No injuries were reported.

“Everybody did a great job,” Chief Donneson said. “We were rotating crews in throughout the night and everything went smoothly.”

Several workers were doing renovation work inside the seasonally-occupied condominium complex when the fire started, but the property manager was the only person living there at the time of the fire, Westhampton Beach Police Chief Trevor Gonce said.

It’s not clear how the fire started, but it appears to have originated in the middle of the building and likely started on the ground floor before spreading in both directions, Chief Donneson said. Southampton Town Fire Marshals are investigating the conflagration.

With winds blowing north to south, the fire was easier to contain, Chief Donneson said, adding that the siding on the condominium complex directly to the east, which was between 50 and 75 feet from the Sandpiper building, melted because of the fire’s intense heat.

The 54-unit building has large propane tanks on both its east and west ends, which Chief Donneson said were secured by firefighters who kept the area doused with water.

“We saved what we could obviously, but a structure like that, when it’s that involved, all you can do is keep it contained and make sure everyone in the area is protected,” he said.

Several hours after the fire started, utility lines directly in front of the complex gave way to the heat and snapped, Chief Gonce said, knocking out electricity for all of Dune Road to the west. The fire also disrupted Optimum internet service in the area.


Firefighters were battling a large fire at the Sandpiper condominium complex on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach Wednesday afternoon.

Details were sketchy, but the Westhampton Beach, Eastport, Riverhead and Quogue fire departments responded to the scene. The Westhampton Memorial Ambulance and East Moriches ambulance were also on the scene. It was unclear if there were any injuries due to the fire.

Smoke could reportedly be seen for miles.

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RIP Sandpiper... a fine old building with lots of history....Thankfully it wasn't in the middle of the night in July ...but a lot of peoples' summer plans have been drastically changed.....
By Jude (2), Quogue on Apr 15, 15 5:24 PM
It appears there are two buildings and (at least from the photos) only one was burning.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Apr 15, 15 5:50 PM
Was the Sand Piper one or two buildings? On Google Earth it looks like two buildings. If it was two buildings did both burn or just one? The news coverage does not detail the number of buildings on the property nor if both burned down.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Apr 15, 15 9:38 PM
Apparently the building next door was the Sand Castle. The Sandpiper was a single building.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Apr 16, 15 9:26 AM
Unfortunate, Lets clear it out and put up some million dollar homes!
By LovinLife (61), East Quogue on Apr 16, 15 9:24 AM
Is it just me or have there been an inordinate amount of structure fires in the past three years on the east end? Any thoughts as to what is going on?
By Slightmadness (19), East hampton on Apr 16, 15 9:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
I agree! Fire can be a quick and effective solution if the zoning board doesn't give the self entitled what they want!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Apr 19, 15 2:49 PM
I thought insurance lightning also ..im sure everyone did...so I hope no one was in danger or hurt. no injuries reported... nice! lucky.
even off season its hard to imagine nobody was there.
150 volunteers on the scene is a ton of risk for an insurance arsonist to take on .. hard to imagine putting that many people at risk
By david h (405), southampton on Apr 16, 15 11:04 AM
Kudos to the Videographer using the drone. Excellent footage and control of the aircraft!
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Apr 16, 15 6:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
To think arson when its a condo property, owned by many doesn't sound right. No one person the only investment. My guess is faulty salty wiring.

But there sure is alot of fires happening on the ocean front between this, the one at cupsouge, one at bridge and the one recently at east hampton.

What gives??
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Apr 17, 15 1:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
The common thread of the fires I have been aware of is "work men at the location".

There was a big house fire in Amagansett a year or so ago that was being renovated. The house was a total loss but now the lot is clear and has grass and landscaping as though perhaps the neighbors bought the lot to extend their yard.

The beautiful home that was destroyed by fire near Georgica Beach in East Hampton recently was also under renovation and apparently the fire was caused by a worker ...more
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Apr 17, 15 11:00 AM
Condos out here are built with cardboard and swiss cheese. Million dollar tinder boxes.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Apr 17, 15 2:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
The firefighters and police should be commended for responding so quickly and for doing a terrific job containing one of the biggest blazes I've ever seen - the two structures to the east and west are extremely close and were saved. That is no easy feat.
By getalife (61), Southampton on Apr 20, 15 3:50 PM
The common thread is perhaps illegal immigrants performing construction?
By TheGoodLife (43), Westhampton Beach on Apr 21, 15 8:37 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By wrk (20), East Quogue on Apr 22, 15 8:15 AM