Central Islip fire: Woman rescued from burning home
Fierce nor'easter winds fed flames that trapped a woman on the second floor of a Central Islip home — where firefighters and police officers found her hanging out a window Tuesday night, officials said.
The Oakland Avenue blaze was called in around 9:18 p.m. Callers reported smoke and a woman stuck in the house, Central Islip Fire Department Chief Michael Zaleski said.
First responders found heavy fire at the house, Zaleski said. While one man escaped, he said a woman was trapped upstairs with the wind-driven fire "coming up the stairs on the second floor."
Police officers first tried rescuing the woman with a homeowner's ladder, he said, but firefighters had to deploy their own equipment.
Ken Ruddick, Central Islip Fire Department safety officer, said: "She was leaning out the window with heavy black smoke pushing out the window around her. It was obvious she was in distress."
Ruddick and Lt. Juan Sanchez then climbed a ladder to the second-floor window. "She was somewhat overcome by the smoke at that time and the sill of the window was quite high and she wasn’t able to get herself up out the window on her own ... we actually had to lift her up and out of the window at which point we were able to bring her down the ladder safely to the ground."
She was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Two police officers also suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to Suffolk police.
The fire was placed under control within one hour and 10 minutes after the initial call was made, Zaleski said. But the home is “totaled,” the chief said.
He said it had smoke detectors but whether they were working has yet to be determined.
As is standard with such blazes, Suffolk County arson detectives will probe the cause.
On Wednesday, Zaleski downplayed the rescue.
“This was what our firefighters train for, so this was a fairly easy rescue effort," he said.
With Cecilia Dowd