Woman critical after rescued from Bohemia fire

A 71-year-old woman is in critical condition after firefighters rescued her early Friday from a fire at an apartment complex in Bohemia, fire officials said.

Richard Andersen, chief of the Bohemia Fire Department, said two firefighters rescued the victim from a second-story apartment complex on Middleton Road after responding to an emergency call at at 5:35 a.m.

Neither Andersen nor police had details on the woman's injuries; she was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, police and fire officials said.

Andersen said neighbors in a downstairs apartment heard smoke alarms blaring in the woman's apartment and made the emergency phone call.

Andersen said he and his second assistant chief, Sterling Haynes, were the first to respond and neighbors told them the woman who lived in the apartment was most likely still inside.

"We tried to rescue her then but were unable to get inside because of heavy smoke," Andersen said.

Only minutes later, when a crew arrived with a truck, did firefighters enter through an upstairs window and find the victim in a back bedroom, Andersen said.

Emergency personnel performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and Sayville Community Ambulance took her to Southside.

Andersen said the fire appeared to have started in the living room of the two-bedroom apartment. It took about five minutes to extinguish the fire, which generated thick, dark smoke, he said.

"Whatever ignited, I don't know," Andersen said. "But it put out thick smoke and inside the apartment it just built up; there was nowhere for the smoke to go."

A police spokeswoman said the fire is under investigation by the Arson Squad but does not appear to criminal in nature.

Suffolk County fire rescue said the Sayville and Lakeland departments also responded.

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