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Baxter House fire’s cause not determined, inspectors say

The Baxter House, at 15 Shore Rd. in

The Baxter House, at 15 Shore Rd. in the Village of Baxter Estates, is seen on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017. The 18th century home, which had landmark status, was damaged in a fire, officials said. Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

The Nassau County Fire Marshal’s office was not able to determine the cause of a Sunday fire that damaged a centuries-old house in the village of Baxter Estates, officials said.

The Baxter House on Shore Road, the village’s only landmarked home, was seriously damaged by a fire early Sunday morning, leaving its main facade heavily charred. There were no injuries, authorities said.

The blaze appeared to start in the home’s basement, although the cause is undetermined, said James Hickman, Investigations Division supervisor for the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office.

The investigation is complete, but the house was “too structurally insecure to make safe entry,” Hickman said.

The left portion of the home, which includes the front entrance, was “gutted and destroyed,” Hickman said, adding that he believed it was “not salvageable.” The home’s right side, which is newer, sustained significant smoke and heat damage but there was much less damage, he said.

The village’s building inspector will begin an evaluation of the property, said Village Clerk Chrissy Kiernan. The home is owned by Sabrina Wu, of Flushing, Queens.

Wu recently submitted an application to demolish the house and rebuild a replica, an idea that many residents said forsook the home’s history. The application is still scheduled to be heard by the village’s Landmarks Commission on March 1, Kiernan said.

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