A woman called 911 from her burning North Bay Shore home Sunday evening, but died after firefighters found her unconscious, her way out blocked by the flames, authorities said.
Efforts to save the sole occupant of the 20th Avenue house were hampered by conditions inside the single-level home, which was filled with papers, boxes and other belongings, Brentwood Fire Chief Michael Derbyshire said.
“You could hardly move,” the chief said. “There were single paths throughout the house, probably 18 inches wide. Everything was stacked up 4 or 5 feet high throughout the house, papers, boxes.”
The fire started in the living room, which was off the front door, he said, and flames were already shooting out the windows when Brentwood firefighters arrived.
“That would have been blocking her path to get out,” Derbyshire said.
He said Brentwood firefighters, among about 75 firefighters responding from several departments, located the woman near the bathroom. She was unconscious and in cardiac arrest, the chief said.
The woman was transported by Brentwood Legion Ambulance to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where she was pronounced dead, police said. Her identity was not released, pending notification of relatives.
Some of the victim’s cats escaped, but at least six of them died, Derbyshire said.
The fire, which started about 6:50 p.m., was brought under control about an hour later. Police said the fire appears to be noncriminal, but the cause remains under investigation by homicide and arson detectives, as well as the Islip Town fire marshal.
With Stefanie Dazio and John Valenti