West Babylon family reunites with police officer who saved them from fire

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A West Babylon family reunited with the hero police officer who saved them from a raging house fire.

Suffolk police officer Avi Donnenfeld was on patrol in the early morning hours of Dec. 31. As his shift ended, he noticed smoke and flames coming from a home on Ecker Avenue.

He immediately sprang into action. Donnenfeld called the fire department and then pounded on the door to wake the family of four, which he then safely helped evacuate the smoke-filled home.

"He said just follow the light. 'I have children' -- he said your children are out just follow the light," says Theresa Hoffman.

Theresa Hoffman calls it divine intervention.

"It's anything less than a miracle, and we are the luckiest people alive," says Hoffman. "Yes we lost things ... we lost our beloved animal. What we have gained from this community, I have more now than I had before."

The Hoffman family's 12-year-old son Nicholas, who helped get his 6-year-old brother out of the burning home, said he was inspired by Donnenfeld and is about to become a junior member of the West Babylon Fire Department.

"Equipment or not, you have to make your way inside," says Donnenfeld. "If there is a child adult a human life inside, I am not going to stop until I find that person."

The family says they should be back in their home within a year.

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