Two volunteer firefighters rushed into a burning Southampton Village home without their gear Thursday evening to try to save a woman trapped in her bedroom, fire officials said.
Though their efforts failed, other firefighters had arrived and rescued the woman, who was taken to a hospital, officials said.
Fire Chief Rodney Pierson said he was two blocks away and Capt. Steve Rogoski was even closer to the Bellows Lane house fire when the emergency call came about 5:30 p.m.
Flames had engulfed the house, Pierson said, and without waiting for fire trucks, oxygen tanks and fire-resistant coats to arrive, the two went in through a side door.
"Is anybody there?" the chief said he called out.
"Yes, I'm in here," he heard a voice say.
"The elderly woman was trapped in her bedroom," Pierson recounted. "We made entry, stayed low and tried to get through it. We almost got to her, but the fire was too well advanced."
The two men retreated and by that time, the fire trucks had arrived, the chief said.
The resident was found unconscious in her bedroom by Lt. Matthew Shimkus and 2nd Assistant Chief Michael Kampf and taken to Southampton Hospital, Pierson said.
Her condition was not immediately available Thursday night.
Rogoski and Shimkus were treated for smoke inhalation at the hospital and released, Pierson said.
The fire was under control by 6:30 p.m., he said. The Southampton Village fire marshal is investigating, he said.
For the chief, the rescue was frustrating.
"You can hear someone and you want to go in," said Pierson, a 21-year volunteer. "We went as far as we could, but I didn't want to go to the point of no return. We went as far as we could handle with the smoke and heat, then came back out, unsuccessful.
"The Southampton Fire Department has done a great job tonight, one of my proudest moments."