Neighbors raise questions after fire destroys Plainview home set to be destroyed later that day
Neighbors say they are puzzled after a fire in Plainview tore through a home that was scheduled to be torn down just hours later.
The fire ultimately destroyed two homes and severely damaged a third, and this was the second fire at the location in less than two years.
Neighbors on Audrey Avenue are demanding answers following the fire that also injured three firefighters early Saturday.
“Everybody’s shook up by the whole thing,” one resident says.
A fire at the same house in January 2020 killed a 65-year-old woman whose mother owns the property. The house was later condemned and remained in disrepair, according to a petition filled by the Town of Oyster Bay in June, seeking to have it demolished.
The town wrote that the house was in “dangerous condition” and posed a “threat to the general public.”
A settlement was later reached allowing the owner to have the house torn down herself.
The house was set to be taken down at 10 a.m. Saturday but the fire broke out at around 4:30 a.m. on the same day.
Nassau Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro says the circumstances surrounding the fire are strange, especially since utilities were turned off.
However, he would not say if the fire was suspicious. He says an investigation is still ongoing.
Neighbors are suspicious of the owner’s son, who they say was always in the condemned property.
The son, Vito, told News 12 over the phone that he was using a propane stove inside the home on the evening before the fire.
“I had it on because I was making eggs because I got hungry,” Vito says. “I go to the backyard, and I saw light, then I saw it was on fire. I didn’t go back inside the house, and I called the fire department.”
Uttaro says Vito is being interviewed by investigators.
He tells News 12 they should soon have a determination on the cause and if there is any criminality involved.