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Glen Cove woman, 81, dead in house fire, officials say

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An 81-year-old woman was killed in a fire that engulfed her Glen Cove home on Jan. 2, 2017. Firefighters responding to a report of a fire on Briarcliff Lane at 3:56 a.m. found the home ablaze. Nassau County police said a Glen Cove police officer forced the front door open and found the woman unconscious. The woman was pronounced dead at the hospital, said Michael Uttaro, assistant chief marshal of Nassau County. Credit: News 12 Long Island

An elderly Glen Cove woman died Monday after a fire that began in the kitchen demolished part of her house, Glen Cove police said.

Officers found Hella Archambault, 81, unconscious and in cardiac arrest when they arrived at the split-level house on Briacliff Lane shortly before 4 a.m., authorities said. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The fire began in the second-floor kitchen, Lt. John Nagle of the Glen Cove Police Department said.

“The fire pretty much destroyed that part of the house,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but Nagle said authorities believe it was an accident.

A young man inside the house who identified himself as Archambault’s grandson declined to comment Monday.

A neighbor, Francesco Massaro, 23, who lives on the block, said he woke up after he heard “crackling” sounds, but thought burglars had broken into cars. When Massaro went on his patio, he saw a “small” fire on the left side of the house.

“It started from that side, and then it started shooting out through windows,” Massaro said. “And, then the fire department was breaking through the glass.”

The fire, Massaro said, spread quickly.

“She was one of the finest of Briarcliff Lane. She was a sweet old lady,” he said. “Every time I came down this block, she would say hello, goodbye.”

When he was a kid, Massaro said Archambault used to let him cut through her backyard to get to the candy store.

“It’s a shame we don’t get to see . . . [Hella] anymore,” he said.

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