ALBERTSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police have labeled a fire that sent a family running for their lives early Tuesday morning suspicious.
About 150 firefighters battled the fast-moving blaze, which raged just before 2 a.m. at the Foxcroft Road home where a woman, her fiance and one of her sons were sleeping.
“It’s awful, we’re just all grateful to be alive. That’s all I’m going to say,” the woman told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports
As fire erupted in the front of the house, a second son returned home and woke up his sleeping family. They were all able to escape without injury, police said, but the family’s three cats did not survive.
Neighbors are now questioning whether the fire was caused by a firebombing. Some said they heard tires screech and a loud pop before seeing the entrance of the home on fire.
“The front door of their house was on fire,” neighbor Jennifer Murphy said.
Next-door neighbor George Balme said he was afraid the fire would ignite other homes.
“We heard screaming and a lot of commotion and when I looked outside I saw one of the kids next door with a water hose trying to put the fire out and I grabbed my kids and just ran out,” Balme said.
CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported that no one seemed to know why anyone would target the home.
“I’m angry. These are my babies and they could’ve killed them and if it’s deliberate and it’s really sick. You could’ve killed a family. What are you thinking?” neighbor Camille LoPresto said.
The woman who survived the blaze returned to the scene later Tuesday, but said she didn’t want to speculate on what might have been the cause of the blaze. She said only that she is lucky her family is alive.
The house is in foreclosure, but was being rented out.
The family that lives at the home are staying with relatives, CBS 2’s Gusoff reported.