A family escaped a fire at their East Northport home on Mother's Day, the couple making it out unharmed with their 4-month old twins, a boy and girl, said Chief Wayne Kaifler Jr., of the East Northport Fire Department.
Kaifler said officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, which started at about 10 a.m. on Sunday. He said he called in arson investigators to determine the cause, because an electric wire to the house was detached. It was unclear if the wire was the cause or a result of the fire.
The family had several propane tanks next to the garage that had settings to gradually release gas when they reach a dangerous temperature, he said. The propane release accelerated the spread of flames, which quickly engulfed a garage attached to the Cordell Place home.
The fire spread to the home's kitchen and living room before it was put out in about 30 minutes, Kaifler said.
"My guys did a great job," he said, noting that responders were on the scene within about three minutes.
The family made it out of the house just as first responders arrived. Kaifler said the homeowner called the local fire department directly, instead of 911, which then routes calls to regional departments.
"That doesn't happen a lot," he said. "Everyone always calls 911. It was a quicker response because of that [call]."
More than 50 firefighters and seven trucks responded from East Northport, Commack and Kings Park.
He said half of the home was seriously damaged. The other half could be habitable, although it sustained smoke damage and the electricity is indefinitely disconnected as the investigation continues, Kaifler said.
The family's name was not immediately available. Kaifler said they expected to find a temporary place to stay. The Suffolk Police Arson squad and the Huntington fire marshal are investigating.