WOODMERE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island firefighter was in critical condition Friday afternoon, after flames tore through a home in Nassau County.

The Central Avenue house was totally gutted by the fire, which broke out at around 4 a.m. Friday, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

Roughly 100 volunteer firefighters responded to the fire, Gusoff reported.

Joseph Sanford, Jr., a 17-year veteran volunteer with the Inwood, Long Island Fire Department, was critically injured. A fire chief told Gusoff the firefighter fell through a hole in the floor after the fire burned up through the basement.

Sanford was unaccounted for after several minutes, and was later found in water and under debris with no vital signs. But he was later resuscitated.

Firefighters went into the basement to extricate Sanford, and started CPR in the basement because he was unconscious in full cardiac arrest, according to Inwood Fire Chief Anthony Rivelli.

“When one of your people go down, it’s tough a tough thing,” Rivelli said. “It’s the holidays. “It’s the holidays. It’s Christmastime. Nobody wants to see this. And it is – it’s taken its toll on our members. It’s taken its the whole battalion.”

Rivelli said he hoped to see a recovery for Sanford.

“We’re just hoping, we’re optimistic that we’re going to get a phone call that he’s laughing and he’s giggling, but we just don’t know,” Inwood Fire Chief Anthony Rivelli told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

He was taken to North Shore University Hospital where his family and fellow volunteer firefighters were by his side, Gusoff reported.

At the Inwood Fire Department, an empty space was seen on the rack of gear marked “Junior,” his nickname, CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported.

Sanford works for Nassau County for a living, and coaches and plays for the Golden Eagles, a semi-pro football team.

Friends said Sanford was the picture of health, and the most physically fit volunteer in the department. They were praying that his health would assist him in pulling through.

“He’s the strongest man I know. He’s a sweet, sweet man,” said Sanford’s neighbor, Joey Saldutti. “This is killing us. It’s killing us.”

The owner of the home is David Friend, Vice President of News for CBS2.

“This is a devastating occurrence for us,” Friend said.

Friend and his wife, Wendy Kaplan Friend, had just completed a renovation.

“We are so saddened by the situation, and the Woodmere Fire Department and all the fire departments here are volunteer, and our hearts go out to them,” said Wendy Kaplan Friend.

“We want to thank all the volunteer firefighters from all the towns that came here today, and did their very best to save our house,” David Friend said.

Firefighters said rags soaked with staining material for recently varnished floors may have been involved. The fire marshal was investigating Friday evening.

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