Wife Believed To Be In Her 90s Critical After Being Pulled From Clutter-Fueled Blaze

ALBERTSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Fire broke out Tuesday morning at a home occupied by two elderly residents. One was rescued.

The blaze on Park Lane in Albertson was reported at around 10:40 a.m. Neighbors told CBS 2’s John Slattery they noticed flames and smelled smoke from a fire that had apparently started in the basement.

“You could smell that burning, gassy chemical smell almost,” Joanne Nelson said.

A couple in their 90s, Eleanor and Henry Golis, lived in the home. Police first on the scene said the front door was red hot and had to be kicked open.

“We pulled the female victim from the house, went inside, pulled her from the house, then realized, the second male victim was inside behind her on the floor, also unconscious,” said Scott Thiel of the Nassau County Police Department.

The husband, badly burned, died of his injuries, police said. The wife was critical.

Firefighters also searched for the couple’s son, but it was later determined that he was not at home. Officials said the search was hampered by piles of household clutter.

“The conditions inside the house, it’s a hording-type situation. The house cluttered with debris,” Albertson Fire Chief Joel Melamed said.”There’s boxes full of clothes, shoes and debris, newspapers inside the house, very cluttered.”

It’s what fire officials in the city refer to as a “Collyer’s Mansion,” named for two brothers who were found dead in their cluttered brownstone in 1947.

“Most of the fire was in the basement and it came up into the kitchen. They did not appear to have smoke detectors in the house,” Chief Melamed said.

Fire officials told Slattery the cause of the blaze was still under investigation.

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