After an investigation into last week’s Sagaponack house fire linked the blaze to an improperly sited squirrel’s nest found inside the damaged home, police have begun an intensive search for the squirrel or squirrels that built the illegal nest.
According to police spokesman Larry Hirsch, investigators found it impossible to determine precisely when the fire-damaged squirrel’s nest had last been lived in, and thus could not tell for certain whether the squirrel(s) that had resided in the nest had witnessed last Wednesday’s blaze. However, investigators said the nest did show signs of a hasty exit on the part of its bushy-tailed occupant(s).
“We strongly suspect that the squirrel or squirrels left in a hurry, probably as a reaction to the fire,” says Hirsch. He cited signs of panic on the part of the squirrel(s), including the charred remains of a half-consumed acorn. “The half-eaten nut speaks volumes,” Hirsch said, explaining that if the squirrel(s) had taken leave of the nest in an orderly fashion, the squirrel(s) would certainly have taken any leftovers along. Hirsch says that with the half-eaten acorn as a crucial piece of evidence, investigators now speculate that the fire probably caught the squirrel(s) by surprise in the middle of dinner.
Because of this, police are on the lookout for hungry squirrels with marks of fire damage. If residents spot animals with scorched tails, soot-covered fur or signs of respiratory distress—such as a hacking cough—they should call police immediately.