Fire guts Riverside Drive home; one person taken to hospital

01/01/2014 1:38 PM |
TOM LAMBUI PHOTO/LIHOTSHOTS.COM | Firefighters battle a Riverside Drive house fire from the roof Wednesday.

T.J. LAMBUI PHOTO/LI HOTSHOTS | Firefighters battle a Riverside Drive fire from the roof.

A Riverside Drive home owned by a local artist was gutted by fire Wednesday, sending one man to a hospital with burns to his face and requiring 80 volunteer firefighters from five nearby fire departments.

The fire broke out in the back of the two-story home shortly after 11 a.m., said Riverhead Fire Department spokesman Bill Sanok.

“When we arrived, there was heavy smoke coming from the back,” Mr. Sanok said. “The whole back of the building is torched.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by Riverhead Fire Marshals.

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Firefighters douse the remnants of a Riverside Drive fire on Wednesday.

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Firefighters douse the remnants of Wednesday’s fire on Riverside Drive.

Riverhead police arrived on scene first, followed by the Riverhead Fire Department and shortly after, the Flanders Fire Department’s rapid intervention team.

Jamesport and Eastport Fire Departments followed suit, and a Wading River Fire Department ambulance reported on scene as well.

The home is owned by artist Rani Carson, whom a neighbor described as retired. Ms. Carson had taught art classes at Suffolk County Community College.

Mr. Sanok said three people were able to escape from the home safely, including the injured man.

The injured man was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of second-degree burns, said Lisa Corwin, assistant chief with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Fire squads had to take to the roof to cut holes in the roof and a second floor wall to allow the fire to ventilate as they fought it, Mr. Sanok said.

The fire was under control in about an hour and volunteers were still on scene as of 1 p.m.

Neighbor A.J. Lacombe, who lives across the street from the damaged home, said he was alerted of the fire by his barking dog and saw quite the surprise upon looking across the street.

“I went out to see the police were here, then came the firefighters,” he said. “I saw the flames over the fence, about six feet tall.

“It was a matter of minutes and it went right up.”

mwhite@timesreview.com