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Supervisor: Southampton fire could have been a ‘massive tragedy’
A Southampton house engulfed in a fire Wednesday night had been cited this summer for illegally housing 20 people, including seven in the basement, town officials said last night.
The house at 18 Greenfield Rd. in Shinnecock Hills caught fire Wednesday night and was the site of an explosion, Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said in a statement.
Two occupants of the house were injured in the fire, according to the Southampton Press, and two Southampton Fire Department members were treated for minor injuries. The paper reported that propane tanks exploded.
Southampton police last night had no further information on the fire, and further details were not immediately available.
Throne-Holst credited the code enforcement action, limiting the occupancy, with preventing a “massive tragedy,” she in a statement. “If people had been still occupying the basement at the time of the fire, there is no doubt we would be talking about mass casualties.”
The town’s code enforcement executed a search warrant at the house in August and found the overcrowded living situation. The town got a Supreme Court injunction and temporary restraining order, prohibiting all but one family from living there.
Southampton this year has made code enforcement actions, particularly targeting overcrowded rentals, a top priority.