NORTH AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A home on a quiet suburban Long Island street — not far from a church and shopping center — appeared to explode in flames on Wednesday.
Residents ran for their lives, but tragically one victim — an ironworker — died in his bed.READ MORE: Join Us For Our Candidate Conversation With Gov. Phil Murphy Tonight At 7 p.m. On CBSN New York
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, neighbors who called 911 said it looked like an explosion. Intense heat, choking smoke, and dramatic flames destroyed the roof of the Jefferson Street home in North Amityville, just off Route 110.
Richard Enriquez desperately tried to reach a cousin he believed was trapped inside.
“He didn’t answer the phone. I tried to contact him. The house is on fire, so I came out to see if he is okay,” he said.
The residential home is zoned for three apartments — several victims said the fire moved so swiftly they had scant seconds to get out.
“I saw the flames and just ran back outside,” one resident said.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
“Brought in mutual aid of several departments. Some managed to get out, however there is one who did not get out, and he has passed,” James Campbell, Suffolk County Fire And Rescue said.
It was the main floor bedroom where relatives of Hector Arcos said firefighters and friends tried frantically to save him under suspicious circumstances.
“He was sitting in his bed in flames and he wasn’t moving and she kept telling him Hector, go you have to leave the house is on fire. And he wasn’t moving,” Olga Robertson, the victim’s sister-in-law, told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs.
“Currently an active investigation by the Suffolk County Police, homicide and arson unit,” Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer said.
Relatives called the case tragic and confusing. Firefighters said it is a wonder there weren’t additional victims.
Police said the exact cause of death and the cause of the fire may be released on Thursday.MORE NEWS: Gabby Petito's Death Prompts Nassau County To Expand 'Safe Dates Initiative' To Help Young People's Relationships