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Clothes dryer blamed in South Hempstead fire

Family members were roused from their sleep early

Family members were roused from their sleep early Christmas Eve morning, Dec. 24, 2009, when fire broke out in the basement of their May Street home, forcing the family out into freezing weather. Just after 1 a.m., the South Hempstead Fire Department was called to May Street for a house filling up with smoke. Firefighters found fire burning in the basement of the two-story home and the family waiting outside. Firefighters from Hempstead, Baldwin and Rockville Centre assisted, bringing it under control in 45 minutes. One resident was treated for smoke inhalation. The fire was under investigation. Photo Credit: Fred Kopf

A faulty basement clothes dryer is being blamed for a fire in a South Hempstead home early in the morning of Christmas Eve, the Nassau County fire marshal's office said.

One woman was treated and released for minor smoke inhalation at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow after the fire at the May Street residence, said Vincent McManus, division supervisor for the fire marshal's office.

"If there is a positive here, it's that the house had working smoke detectors, and those smoke alarms helped avert a real tragedy," McManus said.

South Hempstead, Baldwin and Rockville Centre fire departments responded to a call at 1:02 a.m. Thursday after the dryer sent flames and thick smoke up from the home's basement.

The fire was under control in about 45 minutes, McManus said.

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