RONKONKOMA, NY (CBSNewYork) — Authorities are investigating a suspicious fire that forced a Long Island family out of their home early Tuesday morning.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports
The fire broke out Tuesday at a home on Weichers Street in Lake Ronkonkoma and quickly spread to the first and second floors.
Homeowner Anthony Rooney and his two teenage sons were awakened at 1:30 a.m. by the sound of their fire alarm and the smell of smoke billowing through the front door.
“I knew to get my boys out and the dogs too,” he told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
His sons and two of his three dogs were able to get out of the house safely, but when Rooney went upstairs for his third dog, he says the fire had spread.
“Right after I got the dog out, I jumped out after throwing the dog down,” he said. “I had to jump out. I was trapped up there.”
Investigators believe the fire started outside the front door by someone using “available materials” and say two family cars, a white BMW and a black Hummer, were also spray-painted with profanity.
“It’s an opinion. It’s not a fire bomb, not an explosive. We have not recovered an accelerant,” said Det. Inspector Harold Jantzen.
“I’m in shock,” Rooney said. “That’s my whole life in there. To look at that, that’s bad.”
The Rooney family salvaged what they could from their Lake Ronkonkoma house but are stunned by how anyone could set their house on fire with three people asleep inside.
Rooney says he’s upset and angry, but wouldn’t comment on who he thinks may be responsible, saying he’ll let the Arson Squad do their work first.
“They’re going to look into it and hopefully find who it was,” he said. “I’m hoping they do.”
The entire family escaped unharmed and all are staying across the street with Rooney’s mother while they figure out what to do next.
“It’s devastating,” Rooney said. “Everything I had, family heirlooms and antiques, they’re gone. Can’t be replaced.”
Rooney, a welder, wouldn’t comment on who thinks may have targeted them. Neighbors say he’s mentioned a dispute with coworkers.
The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information should call the Arson Squad at 631-852-6024 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
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