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Man Killed, 2 Injured In Fast-Moving Fire In Rooming House On Long Island

ROOSEVELT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) - Eleven people were inside a Long Island home early Friday morning when a fire erupted, leaving one man dead.

A man and a woman, tenants on the second floor of a Roosevelt rooming house, jumped for their lives and escaped serious injury as the home on Debevoise Avenue light up the night sky, CBS2's Emily Smith reported.

A 50-year-old man was trapped and could not be saved, Smith reported. He was later discovered in his bedroom.

Man Found Dead After Fire In Roosevelt

Ashley Fernandez lives across the street and said she was awakened by shouting around 2:30 a.m.

"We just heard a lady. She started yelling so my friend and I, were sleeping and we just looked outside and thought it was an argument and saw a fire," she told 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera. "In literally minutes, the entire house was on fire."

"I came to the front door and I was yelling and I was telling them, 'Is everyone out of the house?,'" Fernandez added.

Investigators said the landlord may not have installed smoke detectors, Smith reported.

Just hours after firefighters put out the blaze, the unstable, gutted house had to be knocked down.

The Red Cross is currently caring for nine adults left homeless by the fire, Rivera reported.

It was HUD Section 8, low-income, single room occupancy housing that neighbors claim was rarely inspected, Smith reported.

"I blame the town. They should do better," said witness and neighbor Naomi Williams. "I'm not blaming the people, I blame the town."

The fire marshal and Roosevelt Fire Department both say the cause was an overloaded electrical connection.

Roosevelt Fire Rubble
The remains after a fire in a rooming house in Roosevelt, Long Island. (Credit: CBS2)

All day, neighbors recalled the terror and panic of the night, Smith reported.

"I heard screaming and I woke up and saw the fire and I freaked out," said young neighbor Kimberly Alvarado. "I went to the back and grabbed my jacket ... and then I was afraid the house was going to collapse because it was tilted."

Mental health counseling is being offered to victims and witnesses.

Police are trying to reach the victim's family.

There are existing arrest warrants out for the homeowners who have failed to appear in court for multiple summonses, according to the town of Hempstead.


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