Fire destroyed a detached garage in a downtown Riverhead neighborhood early Monday morning.
Riverhead firefighters found the garage fully engulfed by flames when they arrived at 150 Ackerly Street at about 5:10 a.m.
Homeowner George Gerle said he was awakened by popping sounds outside just before 5 a.m. He looked outside to see flames coming from the garage at the rear of his quarter-acre lot.
Gerle, a retired corrections officer who has lived at the home for more than 30 years, said he used the garage as a workshop. It contained a lot of power tools and an air compressor. He said he had not been inside the garage since Saturday.
The cause of the fire was not immediately determined, Riverhead Fire Chief Tony White said. The Riverhead fire marshal has been called to the scene to investigate, the chief said.
About 30 firefighters responded to the predawn alarm, White said. Fire police shut down Ackerly Street at Roanoke Avenue.
No one was injured in the incident. Firefighters were still on scene as of 6:30 a.m.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl
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A Riverhead man was arrested for boating while intoxicated Sunday evening after being stopped by the Coast Guard for operating his 19-foot pleasure boat erratically near Terry's Creek in Aquebogue, according to Riverhead Town Police.
Vytas Stackevicius, 35, was charged with BWI and cited for having underage passengers aboard who were not wearing life preservers, as well as having an inadequate number of life preservers on his vessel, according to police.
The Coast Guard contacted Riverhead Police for assistance at 7:18 p.m. Sunday. After stopping Stackevicius for allegedly erratic operation, the Coast Guard escorted his boat to the docks at the Moose Lodge, where he was taken into custody by Riverhead police.
He was held overnight at town police headquarters for morning arraignment in Riverhead Justice Court, police said.
Boating while intoxicated is a misdemeanor under N.Y. state navigation law, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year or by a fine of up to $1,000, or both, as well as suspension of the operator's privilege to operate a vessel for a period of 12 months.
The navigation law, unlike the vehicle and traffic law, does not provide for stiffer charges/penalties where the operator has underage passengers in his vessel. State legislators have introduced bills in Albany that would make it a felony to operate a vessel in an intoxicated condition with children on board, similar to the law known as Leandra's Law, adopted in 2009 after a child was killed in a car crash in tNYC while a passenger a car operated by an allegedly drunk driver.
Editor's note: A criminal charge is an accusation. By law, a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.charge