Cops: Building department blaze wasn’t arson

The morning after the Friday night fire in the town building
department. Town officials are waiting for insurance adjusters
to assess the damage to the building, which hosts 11

Police have ruled out arson as a possible cause of a Friday night fire in the town’s building department offices, authorities said.
A faulty fluorescent light is believed to have sparked the 8:30 p.m. blaze at the Howell Avenue building, a portion of which was fully engulfed when police officers arrived on scene, said Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller.
The Suffolk County Police Arson Squad issued its determination over the weekend.
“It originated in Leroy’s office, which sustained the most damage,” he said of the arson team’s report.
Police credited the quick response of Riverhead volunteer firefighters for containing the fire, though the extent of the damage is still not known.
“There are files damaged in Leroy’s office,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Monday. “But we’re still waiting for our insurance people to come tomorrow.”
He said the department’s 11 employees will in the meantime be working in the town tax receiver’s office.
“That’s why we’re expediting the construction of the economic development office at 755 East Main Street,” he said. “We’ll move buildings and grounds into that office temporarily and hopefully by the end of the week all transactions will be seamless.”