FD: Power-Surge Fires Destroy Homes
Two Dix Hills homes were destroyed on Saturday after a cesspool truck slid on ice and struck an electrical transformer, causing a power surge that set fires to the homes.
While firefighters were able to extinguish the flames “fairly quickly,” Dix Hills Fire Department First Assistant Chief Robert Fling said volunteers remained on the scene at Randolph Drive for two hours. Firefighters, Fling said, inspected more than 25 homes nearby on Jan. 4 to ensure there was no additional damage to other homes in the area.
A neighbor called the Dix Hills fire department Saturday afternoon after witnessing billows of smoke coming from one of the homes. Firefighters arrived at the scene at 3:15 p.m., Fling said.
There, firefighters discovered that the residents of both houses were not home at the time of the fires.
Fire department officials determined that a cesspool truck, operated by Miller Place-based S.O.S. Sewage and Drain Cesspool Service, slid on a patch of ice and hit an electrical splice box, creating a power surge which significantly increased electrical output to the homes.
Volunteers forced their way through the front doors of the homes, Fling said, adding that one home sustained significantly greater damage than the other. Both fires originated in the basement, and in one of the homes, spread to the first floor.
Both homes were deemed uninhabitable after the blaze, Fling said. Town spokesman A.J. Carter said the homes were placard by the Huntington Fire Marshal. Four others houses sustained extensive electrical damage.
More than 100 firefighters from nine different stations, including volunteers from the Melville, Commack, Greenlawn and Huntington Manor Fire Departments were on the scene Jan. 4. Fifteen trucks were required to put out the smoke-heavy blazes.
No injuries were reported, Fling said, and the driver of the cesspool truck remained on the scene while firefighters put the flames under control.
According to fire department officials, PSE&G was asked to turn off power to the surrounding neighborhood. The Huntington Fire Marshal and the Suffolk Police Arson Squad are also investigating.