Home Police & Fire Breaking News Firefighters douse blaze at ‘homeless camp’ in the woods off East Main...

Firefighters douse blaze at ‘homeless camp’ in the woods off East Main Street

A fire broke out at a makeshift campsite in the woods off upper East Main Street early this morning.

Riverhead firefighters responded with a brush truck to extinguish a large debris fire at about 7:15 this morning, Riverhead Fire Chief Kevin Brooks said.

“There’s a homeless camp back there and this fire kind of got out of control on them,” Brooks said. It didn’t spread much thanks to the damp conditions, he said, and firefighters were able to quickly extinguish it once they were able to access the area with a brush truck. The “camp” is about 70 yards off the road in the woods, on the east side of Main Street west of Route 58.

“It’s rough terrain in there,” Brooks said.

No one was injured and none of the people who are apparently staying in the woods there were present when firefighters arrived.

“It was a section of stockade fence on top of four bricks and a bunch of debris on top of that was burning,” Brooks said.

There are several such “camps” in the woods around Riverhead, Brooks said. “At one time or another we’ve been called to all of them.” Each consists of multiple campsites, he said. They make shelters with tarps and make beds off the ground.

Every now and then, a fire built for keeping warm or cooking gets out of control, the chief said.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website. Email Denise.