Brentwood firefighters rescued a woman trapped in her burning house late Monday after an off-duty volunteer who is a neighbor tried but was turned back by smoke and flames.
The off-duty firefighter was just pulling into his driveway when he received an alert about the fire at 10:31 p.m. Monday, Brentwood fire officials said. He realized he was nearby and arrived first on the scene. After being alerted that a woman was trapped in the basement, the volunteer tried three times to reach her. But without equipment, he was turned back by the flames and heavy smoke, fire officials said.
Within minutes, Brentwood First Assistant Chief Bill Peterson said, about 50 fully equipped fellow volunteers were on the scene and were able to reach the woman in the basement. She was conscious but suffering from smoke inhalation, Peterson said.
"It's never easy . . . [to find someone], dealing with conditions," he said. "The guys did what they had to do."
Two other residents, a man and a woman, got out of the home on Garnet Drive safely, fire officials said. The two women and the off-duty firefighter were taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for treatment of smoke inhalation, Suffolk County police said.
The firefighter was treated and released. Information on the others was not available Tuesday night. The family of the rescued woman declined to comment.
Peterson said firefighters were thankful for the outcome, saying his volunteers had helped save another resident trapped in a burning house last month.
"We had one around Thanksgiving and now one for Christmas," Peterson said, referring to the rescue of a family member from a burning Carroll Street home on Nov. 23. "Absolutely, there's nothing better than that."
Peterson said there was fire damage to the basement and heavy smoke damage to the entire structure. Police said investigators determined the cause of the fire was electrical and it appears to be accidental.
Volunteers from the Commack Fire Department provided mutual aid.