The tenant pointed to the kitchen of her Roanoke Avenue home, now covered in debris and smelling of smoke.
Ceiling slats had been pulled onto the now-ruined appliances and the exposed supports were charred black from fire.
But Saturday night’s blaze could have been much worse, she said. She opened the door to the pantry 10 feet away, showing that the plates and supplies were untouched by the fire.
“Not bad,” the tenant, who gave her name as Maria, said. “Not bad.”
Riverhead firefighters put out the fire in the Roanoke Avenue house late Saturday night after an electrical problem sparked in the wiring above the kitchen, fire officials and the tenant said.
Maria said the fire was discovered when one of the people living in the house smelled something strange. When the man opened the bathroom door, he found a wall of smoke and heard the fire alarm go off soon after. The house was evacuated as firefighters arrived on scene.
Riverhead Fire Department responded to the fire at 11 p.m. and found smoke coming from the first and second floors, fire officials said.
Firefighters first went to the second floor of the house while a second crew went around the back of the building to the kitchen, according to a department report. The smoke was coming from the ceiling, so firefighters used poles to pull down the cieling to expose the burning supports.
The crew downstairs sprayed down the fire from below while the firefighters upstairs prevented the fire from spreading any farther, according to the report. Fire crews were on the scene for about one and a half hours, fire officials said.
While fire officials said the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined yet, the tenant pointed to a scorched lamp resting on the broken stove as the source.
Maria said the insurance company should have the damage repaired and appliances replaced in three to four weeks. The house needs a new toilet upstairs because of the fire, she said.
Outside the home, her damaged possession laid in a pile. She said she lost clothing from Europe, blankets and shoes. All of her things smell like smoke, Maria said. But she said she’s taking the fire in stride.
“[It's] just clothes,” she said.