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Fatal Mattituck fire does not appear suspicious, police say

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on Main Road in Mattituck on Saturday, June 21, 2014. One person died in the blaze that apparently began in an apartment and destroyed four adjacent businesses, Suffolk authorities said. Credit: Stringer News / AJ Ryan

Southold Town police don't believe a fire that ravaged a Mattituck building, killing one man, is suspicious, the department's chief said Monday.

"I don't think there is any reason to suspect foul play or to believe it was suspicious in nature," Chief Martin Flatley said of the blaze at 12800 Main Rd.

The fire, which swept through the single-story building that contained two apartments and four businesses, began about 10:30 p.m. Friday and continued into Saturday morning. Paul Mittleman, 51, a tenant in an apartment, was killed, police said. Flatley said the Suffolk County police arson squad is investigating.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze at 1:52 a.m. Saturday, authorities said, with Mattituck Fire Chief Vincent Tirelli Jr. describing the fire as "stubborn."

A Jamesport firefighter had a foot injury, Tirelli said.

Most of the building's roof collapsed, and blackened shingles and beams littered the interior and an adjacent parking lot Saturday. The fire appears to have originated in Mittleman's apartment, police said.

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