Suffolk police officer hailed a hero for saving West Babylon family from house fire

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A Suffolk police officer is being credited for saving a West Babylon family following an early morning fire that decimated their home early Tuesday morning.

Smoke and flames engulfed the residence on Ecker Avenue in West Babylon Shortly before 4 a.m.

The family of four narrowly escaped the inferno when Suffolk police officer Avital Donnenfeld was on patrol in the area and noticed the smoke. He pounded on the Hoffman family’s door and the door of neighbor Bernice Marciano to get them out.

“We were, as you can imagine, alarmed,” said Bernice Marciano. She said she and her family were sound asleep when Officer Donnenfeld alerted them about the fire next door.

Marciano says flames were shooting out the windows and threatening her home.

“We opened the door, we heard screaming. The owners of the house were screaming, their kids were screaming and it was just pandemonium thereafter. It was just absolutely horrible,” Marciano explains.

Police say Officer Donnenfeld helped evacuate Theresa and Jason Hoffman along with the couple's 6-year-old and 12-year-old sons. However, the Hoffman family's dog Riley died in the fire.

“The dog hid in the bedroom, so unfortunately he didn't get out,” said Ray Marciano.

The fire destroyed the Hoffman's house, the garage and the family's car. The couple was too distraught and did not want to talk to News 12.

The Marcianos say they and the Hoffmans are grateful to Officer Donnenfeld for saving nine lives with his single act of bravery.

“That officer is an angel and my husband and I hope that we can meet him and thank him personally from the bottom of my heart,” Bernice Marciano says. “Just thank you for coming to our home and saving us. You saved our neighbors, you saved our lives.”

Arson detectives are investigating the cause of the fire.

Police say it appears to be non-criminal.

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