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Five cats die in Nesconset house fire, officials say

Firefighters spray a Nesconset home with water Sunday,

Firefighters spray a Nesconset home with water Sunday, April 3, 2016, after a rapidly spreading blaze ignited, killing five cats inside, officials said. The couple who live in the house on Summit Drive escaped injury. Photo Credit: Joseph C. Sperber

Five cats died in a Nesconset house fire Sunday after windy conditions caused the blaze to spread rapidly, forcing the homeowners out before they could rescue their pets, officials said.

Nesconset Fire Chief James Keane said firefighters from five departments battled back flames for nearly an hour, before putting out the blaze that started shortly before 3 p.m.

The fire is believed to have started in the basement of a one-story home on Summit Drive near Annetta Avenue, quickly spreading to the first floor and ripping through the home’s roof.

“The wind played a big part in the fire,” Keane said. “Fire came out of the back basement window, the wind caught it, and it created a blowtorch effect.”

Keane said several firefighters suffered “superficial” burns on their faces, but none required medical treatment.

The home’s two residents, a married couple, escaped without injuries, but the wife was “very distraught” about the cats not making it out, Keane said. The husband attempted to locate some of the pets before firefighters urged him to evacuate for his safety.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and the house has been deemed uninhabitable, Keane said.

Firefighters with the Smithtown, St. James, Ronkonkoma and Lakeland departments assisted the Nesconset Fire Department with putting out the fire.

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