Home Police and Fire Breaking News Photos: Firefighters battle blaze that destroyed county beach facility

Photos: Firefighters battle blaze that destroyed county beach facility

Area firefighters helped fight a huge fire at the Cupsogue Beach pavilion last night.

A total of 15 volunteer fire departments responded to Westhampton Beach Fire Department’s call for assistance to battle the conflagration, which broke out shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday.

A worker at the county park stepped out of his office in the guard house and discovered a fire roaring in the large pavilion, Westhampton Beach Fire Chief John “Chip” Bancroft said.

When Westhampton Beach third assistant chief Bill Dalton arrived on scene, “it was just ripping,” Bancroft said. “He immediately began calling in other departments for tankers and pumper trucks,” he said.

The closest hydrant to the county park at the end of Dune Road is 2,000 feet away, Bancroft said.

Eleven area fire departments sent tankers to the scene.

Winds coming off the ocean made fighting the fire difficult.

“That was a wind fed fire if there ever was one,” Bancroft said, “with the structure high up on the dunes.”

Another complicating factor was the facility’s recycled plastic decking. “It burns extremely hot and smokes a lot,” Bancroft said.

“It was quite an extensive operation,” Bancroft said, noting that Suffolk Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services commissioner Joe Williams was at the scene all night. The county sent its communications command post to the scene as well, the chief said.

Firefighters were still putting out small fires in the rubble this morning, with excavation equipment digging through the remains of the building looking for hot spots.

Riverhead firefighters were at the scene from about 8 p.m. till 1 a.m. and were reactivated this morning at about 6:45, Riverhead first assistant chief Kevin Brooks said. About 20 Riverhead firefighters, including fire police, responded.

Westhampton Beach kept a tanker, engine and ladder truck there overnight, Bancroft said.

Riverhead, Flanders, Jamesport, Hampton Bays, Southampton, Bridgehampton, Eastport, Center Moriches, Manorville, Mastic Beach, Yaphank all sent tankers to the scene to ferry water to pumper trucks, which in turn supplied the ladder trucks with water. Riverhead Fire Department also sent an engine to the scene and a utility truck. Quogue sent two engines and East Quogue sent a ladder truck to the scene.

Wading River sent an engine and covered the district for Westhampton Beach.

Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Flanders-Northampton Ambulance, East Moriches and Westhampton ambulance all responded to the scene.

Fortunately, there were no injuries, Bancroft said.

The cause of the fire is unknown. The Suffolk County arson squad and the county fire marshal’s office are investigating, Bancroft said.


Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.