Officials: 7 hospitalized, 1 dead following fire at Herricks home
The Nassau Chief Fire Marshal says seven people were hospitalized and a woman has died following a house fire in Herricks.
According to officials, the fire broke out at a home on Lafayette Street Tuesday at around 3:05 a.m.
Officials tell News 12 the seven occupants self-evacuated from the home as first responders arrived.
A total of 60 firefighters from nine different departments were on the scene and officials say the fire was under control within 90 minutes.
"The fire was heavily involved, blowing out all the windows of the structure…almost impossible to get anybody inside to try to affect a rescue," said Mike Uttaro, Nassau's chief fire marshal.
Officials tell News 12 a body was located inside the home. The victim was later identified by family as 60-year-old Kashmira Patel.
According to the family, the home's occupants were in town from India for the funeral of another family's patriarch who died last week. Patel was the daughter of the male family member who recently died.
The family says all those who were hospitalized due to the fire have been released.
"We are just all devastated. In shock. Obviously, we didn't expect this. Waking up to screams that everybody needs to get out. It's just horrifying," said survivor Bhumi Patel.
The family says it took too long for first responders to arrive at their home and get water on the house.
"We are living in one of the best countries in the world, the United States of America, and we are with these services from the fire department and police department," said Tarun Patel. "There's nothing to do to run over?"
Fire officials say the heavy fire and smoke conditions made the second-floor collapse, making it impossible for firefighters to get inside.
Uttaro says there were other challenges, including a downed live power line blocking the front door and a malfunctioning fire hydrant nearby on Herricks Road. He says firefighters were forced to tap into another hydrant further down the block.
"It does seem like an eternity, especially with a loved one inside and out hearts go out to the family, but again, the fire department, the police department did everything humanly possible that they could," Uttaro says.
The cause of the fire has not been determined. Family members say they were up late doing a prayer ritual and have don't know how the fire occurred.