A 97-year-old woman and her neighbor were rescued after a fire broke out in their Mineola apartment building, police said Sunday.
Nassau police officers responded to a 911 call about 6:05 p.m. Saturday reporting the fire in the 97-year-old woman’s third-flood apartment on Lincoln Avenue, police said.
Nassau Police Officer Andrew Martone “gained entry” to the apartment adjacent to the fire, which filled that floor of the building with thick black smoke, and evacuated a woman there who was treated for smoke inhalation, police said. Other residents of the building were also evacuated, police said.
A police department spokeswoman said Martone, who is an assistant chief in the Mineola Fire Department, was not available for an interview Sunday.
Four people were treated for smoke inhalation, including Martone, who was treated at a hospital and released, police said. Two residents were treated at the scene and a third resident, 67, was treated at a hospital.
Connor Pupelis, a neighbor of the 97-year-old woman, said in an interview that he first noticed smoke in the hallway and knocked on the woman’s door, asking if she needed help.
Pupelis, a volunteer firefighter for 11 years at the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department, said he could hear that a woman was inside, but couldn’t make out what she was saying.
Another neighbor came with a handheld fire extinguisher, and Pupelis said he discovered the woman’s door was unlocked so they went inside and were met by thick black smoke. The second neighbor’s wife called 911, Pupelis said.
Pupelis said he and the other neighbor had to bend down low to avoid the smoke and pulled the woman out of the apartment, and then went into the bathroom, where the fire appeared to have started in a trash can, and extinguished the blaze.
“I took her into the hallway, gave her a sweatshirt, walked her downstairs,” said Pupelis. “She had definitely inhaled some smoke. She was pretty adamant she was fine, kind of reminded me of my grandfather in that sense.”
“It was just, fortunately, right place, right time,” said Pupelis. “If no one had noticed it at that point, there was plenty of smoke in the hallway and in her apartment, God forbid what could have happened.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation and is not considered suspicious, a police spokeswoman said Sunday.