Woman still critical after Amityville fire

One woman was hospitalized suffering from smoke inhalation after escaping from a fully engulfed house fire in Amityville on Monday morning officials said. Videojournalist Paul Mazza (July 1, 2013)

An Amityville woman remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday, more than 24 hours after her home caught fire -- forcing her to flee out a first-floor window.

Neighbors and her co-workers at an Amityville law office identified the woman as Nancy Walters. Her age was not available, but neighbors said she was in her late 50s or early 60s.

A Stony Brook University Hospital spokesman said Walters remained in critical condition Tuesday, but did not elaborate on her wounds.

The fire was reported at 5:42 a.m., Amityville police said.

An hour later it was brought under control, Amityville Assistant Fire Chief Leland Greey said, but not before reducing the home on Prospect Street to its brick frame and a pile of smoky, charred rubble.

Fire investigators suspect an electrical malfunction caused the blaze. The two-story house contained no smoke detectors or fire alarms, Greey said.

Two Amityville firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion, Greey said, adding that the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Town of Babylon fire marshal.

Neighbors described Walters as a friendly person who lived in the home with her daughter and three dogs.

Several neighbors said the dogs died in the blaze.

"She's a wonderful neighbor, and I feel terrible," said Theresa Aquaviva. Aquaviva said she was awakened by the heat from the fire and then heard crackling flames.

She and her young son got out of their house and soon noticed Walters in the fetal position in her backyard, covered in soot and with blood on her face.

Aquaviva said she took Walters to the front porch of another neighbor's house, where they awaited help. They attempted to give Walters some water, but she was unable to drink it.

Walters was first taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. She was later transferred to Stony Brook.

Kylene Dogmanits, who lives across the street from Walters, said the woman's daughter was not home at the time.

Employees at the Amityville law offices of Bruce Kennedy, where Walters works as an administrative assistant, said they were shaken when told of the fire and Walters' injuries.

"She's a hell of a lady, and everyone who knows her loves her," said Glenn T. Nugent, a lawyer at the office. "We wish her well."

With John Valenti

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