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Squirrels Gnawed Through Wires, Causing Early Morning Blaze

East Hampton firefighters quickly knocked down fire in attached garage.

The blame for a fire that broke out in East Hampton house on Wednesday morning appears to be going to the squirrels.

Members of the East Hampton Fire Department responded to 23 Fieldview Ln. for a fire in the attached garage at 3:57 a.m., according to a statement from the fire department.

The first arriving units found a small fire extending up and into the attic area of the garage, which was extinguished quickly and without incident. All units were back in service in about a half an hour.

The East Hampton Town Fire Marshal's office, which was called to investigate, determined the fire began with electrical wiring. Chief David (Buzzy) Browne said that homeowners, who awoke to the smell of smoke, reported they was having problems with squirrels, and had recently called an extermination company.

Fire marshals cut out the damage wiring and examined it under a magnifying glass. "A squirrel or whatever rodent was in there was chewing on different parts of the wire," Browne said. "We found a burnt hair from the squirrel, on the actual wiring."

The squirrel may have gotten away from the aching wire. "I didn't find the squirrel," he said.

His office doesn't always find such "classic evidence" of gnawing on wires, though it is not an uncommon cause for fires.

Browne said the fire did burn through the roof, but was isolated to the garage area. "The house is still habitable," he said.

TTTT January 23, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Just as an aside, when we had Cablevision problems, after numerous attempts to "fix" the problem from the inside, a senior tech came and traced the problem to the wire that ran from the house to the street pole ... where IT had been chewed away by squirrels! (I had discovered that as a solution from other postings on the internet!). They may be cute to watch run around the yard, but they still are rodents that chew!
S.B. Bonacker January 23, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Oh yeah, they can be spiteful little things, especially when you don't put out feed for them in the middle of winter. They'll find any little nook they can squeeze into then start chewing away at the wires. Thank goodness the Hawk population is on the rise; so we can let nature take care of the squirrel problem!

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