Quick-thinking Suffolk police officers rescued a woman trapped in a second-floor bedroom of a burning house Thursday morning in Brentwood, police said.
Third Precinct officers Stephen Zembrzycki and Paul McGuirk responded to the house fire at Peterson Street, which is near Broadway, at 5 a.m. and "attempted to make their way through the house" to the second floor, but, Suffolk County police said, the officers were "driven back by smoke and flames."
Unable to reach the woman, Zembrzycki went to the house next door, got a ladder and held it while McGuirk climbed to the bedroom and rescued resident Rosalinda Rizero, 29.
Police said Rizero, her boyfriend, Luis Ramirez, 45, and their 1-year-old son were in the house when the fire broke out. Ramirez tried to help Rizero escape but he couldn't, so he fled the house with the little boy.
Ramirez said neither he nor his girlfriend know the cause of the fire: Everyone was in bed when the fire started, he said.
"We got up because of the fumes, the smoke that was all over the house, so I grab our baby because it was just the three of us in the house," he said, pointing to one of the big ladders Zembrzycki and McGuirk used for the daring rescue.
Ramirez, Rizero and the little boy, Daniel, were taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where they were treated for smoke inhalation.
Two hours after leaving the hospital Thursday afternoon, Ramirez returned to his charred home as insurance and disaster-recovery specialists surveyed the damage to the house he had bought about a year ago.
"All I can say is, we're thanking God that we got out of the house," said Ramirez, still in his socks and limping outside with second-degree burns on one of his feet.
With the home destroyed, the family is staying with relatives, he said. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Suffolk County Police Arson Squad and the Town of Islip Fire Marshal's Office, police said.