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Update: Fire at former 84 Lumber building could be arson, police say


A fire that broke out at the former 84 Lumber building on West Main Street in Riverhead Wednesday afternoon is a “crime scene” and is being investigated as a possible arson, Riverhead police said.

Riverhead Sgt. Edward Frost said detectives will be working with the Suffolk County Arson Squad to determine the cause of the fire.

Firefighters from multiple departments battled the blaze after it started at about 2:20 p.m.; of the property’s three metal buildings, the middle one had visible damage from the fire. Multiple fire trucks from Riverhead Fire Department responded to the burning building and began putting out the fire after the 911 call came in.

Jamesport Fire Department and the Riverhead Fire Marshal were also called to help, while firefighters from Ridge Fire Department were on standby at the scene with a rapid intervention team to assist. Ambulances teams also came to the fire scene, but no injuries were reported, authorities said.

Authorities used a payloader to remove concrete blocks from the building. Bill Oberhausen, manager of Fairfield Apartments across the street from the fire, said the blocks were installed to keep out skateboarding young adults who had been entering the vacant building to skate.

The 84 Lumber building was built in 1984 and has been closed since 2011; the company has since said they left town due to the poor economy. In October, representatives for the company told the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals they hope to reopen the shuttered storefront.

That 84 Lumber proposal was due to be voted on at tomorrow’s ZBA meeting.

Route 25 remained closed from the Tanger Outlets entrance to Kroemer Avenue as first investigators roped off the area in crime scene tape. Authorities haven’t yet determined what started the fire.

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Photo Credits: Tim Gannon