Cops: North Amityville trailer park fire was arson

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Arson caused a fire that destroyed two trailers, damaged two others and displaced seven residents at a North Amityville mobile home park set to close later this month, Suffolk County police said Wednesday.

"It is being investigated as a criminal fire," a police spokeswoman said.

Police did not disclose details, citing the continuing investigation. The Monday fire is under investigation by Arson Squad detectives, as well as the county fire marshal, police said.

The fire at Frontier Mobile Home Park, off Route 110, was reported at about 5:30 p.m. and extinguished at about 6:30 p.m., said North Amityville Fire Department First Assistant Chief John Harley.

Police said an ongoing disagreement between residents and a developer who wants to build apartments and retail space on the 20-acre site first led them to suspect the fire was suspicious.

Residents of the mobile home park are facing an April 30 eviction date. Developer R Squared Real Estate Partners of Plainview wants to build 500 apartments and 42,000 square feet of retail space on the site.

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R Squared has offered residents $20,000, paid in installments, once they vacate the property. The trailer park's civic association has filed multiple lawsuits to stop the redevelopment.

A State Supreme Court justice recently ruled against the association, which is appealing the decision. Babylon Town Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez has urged residents to accept the developer's relocation package.

Residents have said most of the mobile homes are too old to be moved.

Harley said two of the trailers, at 185 and 186 Buffalo Ave., were destroyed. Two others, at 187 and 182 Buffalo Ave., were damaged.

The trailer at 185 Buffalo Ave. was abandoned, according to Harley and neighbors. The occupants of the other trailers were not inside at the time of the fire, according to Harley, though some of the residents later said they were forced to escape in a hurry -- some were eating dinner and others were bathing -- when they saw smoke and flames.

Four fire departments responded: North Amityville, Amityville, East Farmingdale and South Farmingdale, Harley said.

Fire officials contacted the Red Cross to help the residents who were displaced.

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