LYNBROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Two alert off-duty firefighters helped prevent a tragedy on Long Island on Sunday when they noticed a trickle of smoke coming from a house and were able to warn the family inside before the flames spread.
Dylan Strife, 17, and his family had just sat down for lunch as a fire was racing through their Lynbrook home, CBS2's Meg Baker reported.
"This guy comes banging on the door, saying, 'Your roof's on fire. We've got to get everyone out,'" Strife said.
Fire investigators suspect a faulty fireplace chimney flue sparked the intense blaze.
Dylan's father, Sean, was home with his wife and three children, all unaware of the spreading rooftop flames.
"Thank God people – I think a couple of volunteer firemen from Hewlett – were parked at the light and saw the smoking coming out and banged on the door," Sean Strife said.
On Monday, workers chipped away at the jagged remnants of the wrecked rooftop. The fast-moving flames quickly charred every room in the home, WLNY TV 10/55's Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.
Dylan's grandmother raced to the scene after getting word from the teen's mother.
"She called me and said, 'Mom, I'm across the street watching my house burn down," said the grandmother, Eva Draeger.
Despite their loss, the family said they are overwhelmed by the generosity of neighbors who stepped forward with warm clothing and food.
"They were great. They were tremendous, and the way the community has helped us -- what can I say," said Sean Strife, fighting back tears.
The family packed up what they could rescue from the debris. For now, they are staying at a nearby motel but are hoping they'll be able to return to the home Sean Strife has lived in for more than 50 years.
"Important thing is nobody got hurt," he said. "It's a house. It will get fixed up, and in a few months, we'll be back."
The off-duty firefighters, Chris Brower and his son, William, did not want to be interview, saying they just did what anyone would do.
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