Bell Factory Fire Cause Listed As Undetermined — But Lightning Is Probability
Authorities say they’ve wrapped up their investigation into the fire which destroyed he Bevin Brothers Bell factory in East Hampton over the weekend. East Hampton Fire Marshal Rich Klotzbier says the State Fire Marshal’s office assisted his office in its investigation. The cause is listed as “undetermined” – with a high probability it was caused by lightning.
Klotzbier says they used a service known as “Strike Net” to map lightning from Saturday afternoons storms, and determined there had been 292 lightning strikes within a five-mile radius of the building. They believe one of those strikes touched off a smouldering fire which went unnoticed, spreading through the building, until it grew to the point where neighbors noticed it at about 11:30 p.m.
He says the age of the building itself, plus contents including oxygen tanks for welding, lacquers, and paint thinners, all contributed to the spread of the fire.