Fire Rips Through Historic Mansion

By Janee Law

A fire destroyed an historic home in the Bay Crest area of the Village of Huntington Bay on Friday.

The Halesite Fire Department received a call of a reported basement fire at the 28 Bay Crest residence at around 11 a.m., fire officials said.

Huntington Bay Police Chief Christopher Jack was on scene and informed fire department units there were no occupants in the structure.

Halesite Fire Chief Greg Colonna, who was in charge of the operation, said that by the time the first unit arrived on the scene the 8,000-square-foot mansion was a fully involved working structure fire. He added that “there were flames pretty much coming out of every single window on the first floor,” with hot pressurized smoke venting from the upper floors.

Colonna said more than 70 firefighters battled the flames and worked very hard in a highly coordinated effort. Mutual aid was provided by the Huntington, Centerport, Huntington Manor, Cold Spring Harbor and Greenlawn fire departments.

“The main fire got knocked down within 20 minutes but it was spread out so far throughout the house that we couldn’t get into the house to actually put the flames out,” Colonna said. “I didn’t call it under control until I’d say somewhere around 6:30 p.m.”

Upon initial entry, fire crews reported that the first floor collapsed into the basement and defensive operations were commenced.

The Town of Huntington Highway crew assisted in demolition of the structure during the fire. The Huntington Community First Aid Squad stood by at the scene while the Northport Fire Department provided standby coverage.

“Considering what they were confronted with, the guys did an extremely professional job with this one, including the Town of Huntington in supplying us with the heavy equipment,” Colonna said. “They excavated it to pull the house apart so we can put the flames out. Overall, I think everyone did a phenomenal job.”

Colonna said that the Suffolk County Police Arson Squad is still investigating what caused the fire, adding that officials assume that the fire started in the basement of the home. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians reported.

Mayor Herb Morrow said that the home is located in the historical Bay Crest area, where homes were initially built in the early 1900s. Since the wood used to build houses in the area is so old, there concern of the fire spreading to other homes in the area.

Morrow added, “I am grateful for the work of the Halesite Fire Department and others who were engaged in putting the fire out and preventing it from spreading to other old historic homes in the area.”

Prior residents of the Bay Crest home recently sold the house early last week, Morrow said. He added that the Village of Huntington Bay office is still waiting to receive the paperwork of the closing.