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Officials: Cause of Westbury house fire probed

The Westbury Fire Department responded Monday to a

The Westbury Fire Department responded Monday to a house fire in Westbury. Credit: Joseph C. Sperber

The Nassau County fire marshal and Nassau police arson detectives are trying to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a home Monday evening in Westbury, police and fire officials said.

The fire was reported in a 911 call at 5:59 p.m. and responding officers and firefighters arrived at the home on Cypress Lane West to find it “fully engulfed,” officials said.

Westbury First Assistant Chief Ken Gass said two residents, a mother and child, were able to escape the blaze unharmed, and police said the local chapter of the Red Cross offered assistance to those residents.

Police and fire officials did not say how many people were in the home, but there appeared to be at least three separate apartments in the house. Gass and other responders described the interior as cluttered.

Gass said the house was so cut up with interior walls, furniture and other items that “I couldn’t find the stairs.”

He said he attempted to push open one door but could only open it maybe “a foot-and-a-half” because it was blocked by a couch. He said firefighters were thankful more residents weren’t in the home at the time the fire started.

Gass said about 100 firefighters from Westbury, Hicksville, Jericho, Carle Place, East Meadow, Bethpage and Plainview battled the blaze, which took about 90 minutes to bring under control. An ambulance crew from Williston Park also responded.

Gass said he could see smoke from the fire from his neighborhood miles from the scene.

“We arrived to find the back of house fully engulfed,” he said, “with fire out the top, floor to ceiling. We sent one line around back to knock the fire down, a line to the front door to knock fire down and a remote line up the staircase to the second floor . . . There was more furniture and stuff in rooms than should’ve been there.”

Police and fire officials said the cause of the blaze was “not suspicious” but said investigators were still trying to determine the origin. Police said one firefighter was examined at the scene but declined further medical attention.

Gass said another firefighter was transported to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow as a precaution. Additional information was not immediately available.

“Everybody got out, thank God,” Gass said. “You’re just happy nobody was hurt . . . and we all lived to fight another day.”

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