Home Police & Fire Breaking News Overnight fire rips through Riverhead trailer, leaving family homeless

Overnight fire rips through Riverhead trailer, leaving family homeless

Charred interior of the Harrison Avenue mobile home wrecked by fire overnight. Photo: Peter Blasl

An overnight blaze at a trailer off Harrison Avenue left a family with four young children homeless.

Riverhead firefighters responding to a report of a stove fire at about 1:30 a.m. found a working fire in the trailer at 759-E Harrison Avenue, Riverhead Fire Chief Peter Jackman said this morning.

“When Chief Hartmann and I pulled up, there was fire everywhere,” Jackman said.

Riverhead Police had safely evacuated the occupants of the home, Jackman said.

“We’ve lost everything,” said Fidel Ortiz, who rents the home from Jim Woodall of Southold. He and his wife have four small children ages 7, 5, 3 and 2. Ortiz said they have lived in the home for three years.

Riverhead Fire Marshal David Andruskiewicz, who was called to investigate the fire, said this morning the cause remains undetermined and under investigation.

“It looks like it started in the stove,” he said.

“There was heavy fire damage in the kitchen,” Andruskiewicz said. “The rest of the unit suffered a lot of heat and smoke damage.”

Ortiz had no renter’s insurance, he said.

Four other men were in the two-bedroom trailer home with the Ortiz family when the fire broke out.

Woodall, who was at the scene this morning assessing the damage, said he rented the home to Ortiz and was unsure if his tenant took in boarders or they were guests.

The trailer is located on property located west of Harrison Avenue and south of Route 58. Woodall, of Southold, said he has owned the site since the early 1980s.

About 50 firefighters responded to the alarm with three engines and a tanker, Jackman said. They were able to knock down the fire pretty quickly, Jackman said, but the trailer was “probably destroyed.” Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded to the scene and Flanders Fire Department stood by at RFD’s headquarters. All equipment and personnel were released at about 3:15 a.m., Jackman said.

“We’re grateful no one was hurt,” Ortiz said. “We thank the police and fire department.” 

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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.