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Hero Neighbors Helped Tame House Fire Sunday Night

Neighbor sprayed his garden hose on the flames until firefighters responded.

The Taglieaferro family, from left, Hugo Tagliaferro and his sons Josue and Jose, and his wife Clara Tagliaferro, on their deck which overlooks their neighbor's house that caught fire Sunday in Sag Harbor. Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey
The Taglieaferro family, from left, Hugo Tagliaferro and his sons Josue and Jose, and his wife Clara Tagliaferro, on their deck which overlooks their neighbor's house that caught fire Sunday in Sag Harbor. Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey
When the Tagliaferro family saw that their neighbor's house was on fire in Sag Harbor on Sunday night, they sprang into action. Hugo Tagliaferro ran outside, grabbed his garden hose, dragging it toward the burning house and jumping the fence that separates the properties, and spraying water on it until firefighters arrived. 

They heard what they described as an explosion and Clara Tagliaferro, noticed the flames on the side of the house from the second floor of their house, which sits on a hill overlooking their neighbors at 89 Mt. Misery Drive. She yelled for her husband and one of their 14-year-old twin sons called 911, while the other went to a neighbor to get help. 

Neighbors from across the street, Jay Butts and his wife Cassie carried two large fire extinguishers over — he even falling in the process, said Hugo, who kept on dousing the fire with water from his long hose. "I felt bad I could not go help him because he fell but he brought it over still," he said. 

It was a windy night and embers from the property were blowing all over, Clara Tagliaferro said, adding she was worried about her husband who was just feet from the flames.  

The Sag Harbor Fire Department was on scene soon after being dispatched at 7:11 p.m. They were told flames were through the roof, but Chief John Andersen said they weren't when he arrived. The fire began, he said, when embers in the fireplace rekindled and crept into the rafters and the shingles.

The fire was brought under control within minutes, Andersen said. Damage was contained to the roof around the chimney and an outdoor deck. "I'm sure it didn't spread any further because of the neighbors," he said. "It definitely didn't hurt." 

Meanwhile, homeowners Bruce and Linda Beyer were just a few miles away at the former Stella Maris school, throwing a memorial party for Johnny Beyer, (no relation but a good family friend) in the old gym. "My husband was playing in a band and I was cleaning up in the kitchen when my daughter came running in saying our house was on fire!," Linda Beyer said. 

The Beyers are grateful to their neighbors and the firefighters — some of whom had been at the memorial with them. 

"A huge thank you to all our neighbors who called it in, and actually got it under control with hose and fire extinguisher before the fire department got here," she said. "The Sag Harbor Fire Department was incredible! A big thank you to all of them. They were very professional and careful inside the house."

No one was hurt in the fire, the fire chief said. One person — the Beyer's son-in-law who had just returned from the party — was in the house.

The Tagliaferros, who split their time between Sag Harbor and Florida, were just glad they could help and that the house didn't sustain more damage. "They are very good neighbors," Hugo said of the Beyers. 

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