02/19/15 8:00am
02/19/2015 8:00 AM
From left, Tracey Foutaine and TK. Mr. Fountaine credits his faith, extended family, friends and even the help of strangers for helping his family get back on its feet. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Tracey Foutaine and his wife, Lyn, in front of their home. Mr. Fountaine credits his faith, extended family, friends and even the help of strangers for helping his family get back on its feet. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Northampton resident Tracey Fountaine can remember seeing an owl perched on the roof of his house as he arrived home from work one day last June.

A few hours later, the owl was still there.

It was a strange sight, he recalls. Normally owls don’t get that close to homes, or stay around long.

That was all before the aging electrical outlet sparked in the basement near the clothes dryer, before the fire leapt up the wall, before Mr. Fountaine was covered in a flaming blanket while desperately battling the blaze. That was also before he spent days in a hospital recovering from burns while his family dealt with what remained of the family home.

But even when the house — the place his wife, Lyn, had called home since childhood — did catch fire and firefighters tried to contain the blaze, the owl didn’t fly away. It stayed there, hopping from one side of the roof to the other, consumed in smoke.

Only after the fire was out and everyone was OK did the owl leave its perch, Mr. Fountaine said.

He believes that owl was like a guardian, watching over his family and keeping them safe. Nine months after the devastating fire, small owl trinkets litter the trailer the Fountaine family is living in as their home is rebuilt bigger and stronger.

“The owl has become like a family symbol,” Mr. Fountaine said. “I know when we go back home, it will come back.”

In many ways, Mr. Fountaine’s story mirrors the lives of other residents in the North Fork area who have lost their homes and possessions — and more — to fire in the past few years. There’s the initial devastation, the grueling recovery and the importance of support from family and friends.

The News-Review sat down with four area residents who were the victims of house fires in recent years to learn more about that recovery process.

Click on the tabs below to read their stories.

02/18/15 1:41pm
02/18/2015 1:41 PM
Suffolk County investigators arrive on scene Monday morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Suffolk County investigators arrive on scene of the shooting incident Monday morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

The 17-year-old girl who was murdered along with her mother in Wading River Sunday night had previously told police she was afraid of the man who would later shoot and kill her, according to records obtained by the News-Review.  (more…)

02/18/15 10:20am

Monday’s freezing temperatures caused several burst pipes at local businesses, according to Riverhead Town police.

A water pipe broke at the Aldi supermarket on Route 58 at 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, causing minor flooding.

A fire suppression pipe at Home Goods on Route 58 burst Monday about 5 p.m.; and the same thing happened at the Route 58 Stop & Shop about 9 p.m. Monday.

• About $6,300 in cash was reported stolen from the Fossil store at Tanger Outlet Center on Saturday at about 9 a.m.

The suspect is believed to be a woman, according to police. Additional information was not available.

• A woman’s purse was reported stolen from the ladies’ room at Tanger Outlet Center Monday afternoon.

• Renee Carter, 42, of Riverhead was charged with petit larceny Sunday night about 5 p.m. at the Target store on Route 58 after she allegedly removed six items without paying for them, according to police. She was arrested on a civilian complaint, police said.

• Joshua Kulp, 22, of Speonk was charged with petit larceny after allegedly stealing six construction tools from Walmart on Route 58 Saturday at about 5:40 p.m., according to police, who said he was processed and released on an appearance ticket.

Those who are named in police reports have not been convicted of any crime or violation. The charges against them may later be reduced or withdrawn, or they may be found innocent.