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UPDATE: Speonk Mulch Fire Under Control, Units Wrapping Up

Eastport Fire Department Chief Ryan King said he's hoping to have all units done suppressing a mulch fire at Hamptons Sand and Gravel by 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Update 3:00 p.m.: Eastport Fire Department Chief Ryan King said most of the aid units have been sent home, the fire has been put under control, and he's expecting to be wrapped up in Speonk by 4 p.m.

"We just need to finish putting down a few hotspots then hope to have all operations finished by 4:00," he said, adding that there are about 12 departments still on scene.

"Hopefully we get a nice rain here tomorrow."

Update 12:20 p.m.: Allen Schneider, a firefighter with the Hampton Bays Fire Department, recently got home from fighting the fire all night and echoed the sentiments of Eastport Chief Ryan King, saying the process will be an arduous one to quelch the mulch fire in Speonk.

"It is a very stubborn fire," he said. "They will probably be there all day, or until the very heavy rains hit that have been forecast."

Update 12:15 p.m.: Eastport Chief Ryan King said around 11:30 a.m. that fire crews seems to have the mulch fire under control, though because of the size of the pile it would a considerable amount of time until the fire is extinguished.

"It will be a matter of time," he said. "The fire is down at the bottom of the pit, so it's a slow process for excavators to get the stumps out of there. We're trying to switch out our crews now."

Update 11:28 a.m.: As firefighters continue to fight the blaze, Eastport Fire Department reported that they were originally called out at 8:26 p.m. on Friday night to the scene of the mulch fire, at Hampton Sand and Gravel on Speonk-Riverhead Road in Speonk.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a large mulch pile burning with flames extending high in the air. Chief Ryan King immediately called for all available resources from Eastport as well as activating mutual aid in the form of tower ladders, tankers, brush trucks and class A pumpers.

A Suffolk County Fire Rescue Emergency Services command post was established near the top of the sand pit and staging areas set up for resources as they approached the scene. Suffolk County FRES reported that pumpers were set up to feed the tower ladders, and portable pools were set up to receive tanker water and pump it to the engines fighting the fire.  

Approximately 25 fire departments responded to the scene.

Saturday morning, ex-chief with the Jamesport Fire Department Scott McKillop said that trucks were filling up at Suffolk County Community College and up the road, south of Hampton Sand and Gravel.

According to Suffolk County FRES, firefighters supported the tower operations with hand lines and prevented the fire from spreading further in the sand pit. Brush trucks reportedly circled the perimeter of the property, extinguishing any “spot fires” that resulted from burning embers that floated away from the main fire.

The fire involved a 30-foot high mulch pile, measured at approximately 140,000 square feet at the base.

“This type of fire is further complicated by the fact that the heat is generated from deep within the mulch pile and earth movers had to be used dig into the center of the pile," said King. "The operation is very labor intensive and requires huge amount of water." Brush trucks are particularly vulnerable, and night operations add additional hazards to the volunteers who operate under these conditions, he said

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center by Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance Company.

Southampton Town Fire Marshals are investigating.

Update 10:12 a.m.: Riverhead Fire Chief Tony White said the fire is "long from being out."

Update: 12:47 a.m.: According to a firefighter on the ground, Moriches, Westhampton Beach, Quogue, East Quogue, Hampton Bays, Jamesport, Riverhead, Manorville, and Flanders Fire Departments all responded, as well as Hampton Bays ambulance.

chief Tim Shea, who is on the scene, said the fire is much bigger than last week's mulch fire. This time, he said a large pile of debris, mostly large timbers, is burning.

Original: Nearly a week after they were called to , area firefighters were again called at around 9 p.m. on Saturday, to the same location of reports of a mulch/brush fire.

A number of area fire departments have been called in to assist the Eastport Fire Department in battling the new blaze.

report that smoke can be seen in the north as far as Calverton and past Sound Avenue in Riverhead.

Check back as this story develops.

Lisa Finn and Joseph Pinciaro contributed to this report.

Correction: We previously reported that the fire was said to have been nearly knocked out around 12:45 a.m. and more crews were called in around 5 a.m. This was incorrect, as fire crews worked throughout the night battling the mulch fire. We regret the error.

Erica Jackson April 22, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Fran Barnes ‎said via Facebook, "7:30pm and FINALLY All Quiet on Speonk-Riverhead Road now just let it RAIN!!"

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