2012-12-20 / Front Page

4 Teens Charged With Fire that Destroyed 19th Century House

by Eric Gross

“It was one of the most difficult fires we fought all year,” was how Brewster Fire Chief David O’Hara described last week’s inferno that leveled a 19th century abandoned house near the Brewster Ice Arena off Fields Lane in Southeast and on Monday State Police announced the arrests of four teens in connection with the blaze.

Firefighters arriving on the scene around 3 p.m. Dec. 20 found a three-story wood frame building engulfed in flames. The chief summoned mutual aid from the Carmel, Patterson and Putnam Lake departments as well as from fire agencies in Croton Falls, Somers, South Salem and Goldens Bridge.

O’Hara said the biggest problem was fire crews inability to gain access to the blaze since “brush and prickers were everywhere and an access road was overgrown so heavily that fire crews were forced to lay hose from tanker trucks for more than 1,000 feet.”

O’Hara praised the firefighters’ battle despite the loss of the building: “Our men prevented the fire from spreading to adjoining brush.”

No injuries were reported.

On Monday, Brewster State Police Station Commander Sgt. Joseph Malorgio reported the arrest of four youths—two 16-year olds from Brewster and two 17-year olds from Somers for allegedly starting the blaze.

The boys who were not identified due to their eligibility for youthful offender status were charged with multiple counts of criminal mischief and following arraignment were released to the custody of their parents pending hearings in Southeast Town Court on Jan. 23.

The abandoned building was part of the Putnam Land Trust Field Farm Preserve and according to the Putnam Historian’s office at the turn of the 20th century was owned by the first settler of Southeast, Samuel Field.

 

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