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Cops: 1 critical after Rockville Centre fire

The Rockville Centre Fire Department responded to a

The Rockville Centre Fire Department responded to a house fire on Woods Avenue Tuesday morning. The fire left five people injured, one seriously, officials said. (July 17, 2012) Credit: Bill Bennett

Firefighters and police officers rescued two children and a woman early Tuesday from a house fire in Rockville Centre that injured five, police and fire officials said.

Fire officials said the woman had suffered a heart attack and that, based on the original 911 call, volunteers did not know there was a fire until they arrived at the scene. The woman herself had called, saying only "I need help! I need help Me!" officials said, so a police car and an ambulance were sent initially.

The 59-year-old woman was in critical condition after being rescued by firefighters from a second-floor bedroom inside the burning home on Woods Avenue.

Nassau County police said she was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where a spokeswoman said she was placed in the intensive care unit. The identity of the ailing woman was not released.

Police and fire officials said four other occupants of the home -- the two children and two adults -- were taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, where they were treated and released.

The children were identified as a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. The other two adults escaped the house on their own, police and fire officials said. Officials could not immediately say how those rescued were related.

Rockville Centre fire Chief John Busching said police helped the two children escape the burning home through a ground-floor window.

Busching said first responders arrived to find smoke billowing from the home.

The family was alerted to the fire by a smoke detector, Busching said. The critically injured woman was trapped in an upstairs bedroom, however, and had to be rescued by volunteers who searched through smoke and flames to find her.

More than 60 firefighters from Rockville Centre, Oceanside, Baldwin, Lynbrook, East Rockaway and Malverne battled the blaze.

"It was lucky," Busching said of the detector. "It could have been a lot worse." The cause of the fire remains under investigation, though officials said the fire started in the living room.

-- With Bill Mason

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