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Wading River home severely damaged in fire Tuesday


A Wading River teen rushed into his burning home Tuesday afternoon to alert his mother and bring her to safety after a fire sparked in the garage.

“I just wanted to get my mom out,” said James Burkart, 19, who lives at the Stephen Drive house with his mother and two brothers.

Mr. Burkart said his mother was in the basement and he quickly helped guide her out of the house. His brothers weren’t home, one was at work and the other at school. He tried to get water on the fire, but it spread too fast, he said.

Firefighters arrived at the home to find a “large volume of fire out of the garage,” said Wading River Fire Department Chief Kevin McQueeny.

No injuries were reported in the fire, he said.

Mr. Burkart said he was standing in front of the house with friends in the driveway when he spotted the flames.

“I looked in the garage and the thing was erupting in flames,” he said.

The call came over to the Wading River Fire Department just past noon and firefighters needed more than a hour to bring the fire under control, Mr. McQueeny said.

“Lot of damage on the inside [of the house],” Mr. McQueeny said.

Mr. Burkart’s 2012 Chrysler 200 parked in the driveway was also destroyed.

“My keys were in my room so I just watched my car blow up,” he said.

Fire departments from Ridge, Manorville, Rocky Point and Riverhead assisted during the fire, Mr. McQueeny said, noting Captain Brandon Heller was in charge at the scene.

The Riverhead Town Fire Marshal is currently investigating. Mr. Burkhart said a charger plugged in to an outlet in the garage may have been the culprit.

Photo Caption: Fire crews on scene investigating the Wading River house fire Tuesday afternoon. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)