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Downed power line sparks Centerport house fire, official says

PSEG Long Island spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said it appeared that “tree branches breaking due to heavy snow and wind” caused the power line to come down.

The Centerport Fire Department responds to a fire

The Centerport Fire Department responds to a fire on Idle Day Drive on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, during the nor'easter. Photo Credit: Centerport Fire Department

A downed high-voltage power line set fire to a backyard shed in Centerport during Wednesday night’s nor’easter before spreading to a nearby unoccupied home, fire officials said.

The blaze damaged a bedroom and bathroom, a Centerport Fire Department spokesman said. There were no reported injuries.

The fire at the home on Idle Day Drive was reported in a 911 call at 7:13 p.m., Suffolk County police said.

Firefighters from Centerport responded, finding “an arcing 13,000 volt primary power line” had fallen onto a backyard shed — “setting the shed on fire and spreading to” the nearby home, fire department spokesman Steve Silverman said.

PSEG Long Island spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said it appeared that “tree branches breaking due to heavy snow and wind” caused the power line to come down.

She added, “That was the reason for most of the incidents yesterday.”

Firefighters made “an aggressive interior attack” on the fire, but Silverman said, they were forced to halt operations “after a firefighter holding onto a hose line outside received a minor electric shock due to the high voltage in the ground.”

The firefighter, whose name was not disclosed, was examined and cleared by Centerport paramedics at the scene.

“Firefighters kept a close eye on the house and were able to douse a few hot spots while waiting for a PSEG crew to arrive from Northport,” Silverman said. On arrival, the utility crew cut the fuse on the pole, shutting down power to the house — as firefighters continued working to extinguish the blaze, which fire officials said damaged a bedroom and bathroom.

The fire was extinguished within 40 minutes.

Centerport had about 40 firefighters and emergency medical personnel on the scene with two engines, a ladder truck, a heavy rescue truck, two ambulances and paramedic unit, all under the command of Chief Tom Boyd. An engine from the Halesite Fire Department provided standby coverage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Town of Huntington fire marshal, officials said.

During the Wednesday storm, Centerport firefighters responded to 14 calls for downed electrical wires and trees that blocked roads, Silverman said.

With Mark Harrington

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