MILLER PLACE/Leap to safety as fire destroys home

A raging fire destroyed a Miller Place home yesterday morning, forcing one of its occupants to jump to safety from a second-story window, fire officials said.

The Miller Place fire department responded to a call at 9:05 a.m. on Tyler Avenue, said Kyle Markott, an assistant chief for the department.

All four of the house's occupants escaped, Markott said. The woman who jumped to safety injured an arm and was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson. No other information on her injury was available.

One firefighter was injured with minor burns to the knee, Markott said. He was treated at Mather and released.

Markott said the homeowner believes the fire started when the family Christmas tree ignited.

"He's not sure exactly how it happened," Markott said, "but that's what he thinks."

Markott said a "huge volume of fire" burned for about a half-hour before firefighters were able to control the blaze. Overall, the fire probably burned for 45 minutes to an hour, he said.

The Rocky Point, Sound Beach, Middle Island, Mount Sinai and Terryville fire departments also responded, Markott said.

The Town of Brookhaven fire marshal and the Suffolk County arson squad were investigating, he said.

- Gary Dymski

EAST WILLISTON/Cops: Drunken driver hits ambulance

An East Williston man was drunk when he drove his sport utility vehicle into the side of a moving police ambulance yesterday in East Williston, Nassau County police said.

Robert Arroyo, 28, of 2 Donald St., pulled away from the curb at about 3:50 a.m., just about the time a police ambulance was traveling north on Donald Street, police said.

Arroyo's 1997 Ford Explorer hit the ambulance, which was not transporting a patient, police said. There were no injuries.

Arroyo was arrested and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated and driving while intoxicated. He was scheduled to be arraigned yesterday in First District Court in Hempstead.

- Gary Dymski

LYNBROOK/Two arrested in cell phone theft

Nassau County police have arrested two boys after officials said they stole a teen's cell phone at a Lynbrook fast-food restaurant and threatened him with a gun.

Christopher Rivera, 17, of Valley Stream, and a juvenile who was not named because of his age, worked together to steal a 16-year-old male's cell phone at Wendy's, 580 Merrick Rd., on Wednesday night, police said.

The juvenile suspect removed the victim's cell phone from a restaurant table, according to police, and walked out. The 16-year-old left the restaurant to try to get his phone back, police said, when Rivera threatened the teen with a handgun. Rivera and the juvenile then ran away, police said.

A short time later, Rivera and the young man went into a Taco Bell at 547 Merrick Rd., where a store employee who knew of the earlier robbery recognized the two and called police. They were arrested and the gun was recovered, police said.

Rivera was charged with second-degree robbery and fourth-degree possession of a dangerous weapon. The second young man, who will be charged as a juvenile, was facing charges of second-degree robbery and fourth-degree possession of a dangerous weapon.

Both will be arraigned today in First District Court in Hempstead.

- Yamiche Alcindor

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