Five firefighters injured in house fire, deemed 'arson'

City of Long Beach Fire Department/Facebook

Five firefighters were injured while responding to a “suspicious” house fire on Edwards Boulevard and West Walnut Street on Wednesday morning, Long Beach Fire Department Chief RJ Tuccillo said.

Two were transported to the South Nassau Communities Hospital Emergency Department at Long Beach for minor injuries, including smoke inhalation and a broken ankle, according to Tuccillo.

The Fire Department received a 911 call at 6:12 a.m., and smoke was visible from the second-story window when firefighters arrived, Tuccillo said. Firefighters searched the home, which was vacant and under construction. No other injuries were reported. 

“The Nassau County Fire Marshal and the Nassau County Police Department Arson/Bomb Squad have determined that it was arson,” Long Beach Building Commissioner Scott Kemins said. 

They “found evidence of more than one fire set with some type of flammable liquid,” Kemins said. 

About 75 firefighters from the the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office and nearby fire departments, including Island Park, Point Lookout, Oceanside, Inwood and Rockville Centre, also responded to assist.

“Firefighters made entry and found multiple areas of heavy fire throughout the house,” the department said on its Facebook page.

“It appears [the fire] started on the first floor then went up the pipe chase, got into the second floor and got up into the attic and right out the roof,” Tuccillo said.

The fire marshal is investigating the incident, which is considered to be suspicious.

“The investigation has determined that there’s a suspicious nature to the origin of the fire in the house,” said Michael Uttaro, Nassau County Assistant Chief Fire Marshal, adding that “accidental causes” were ruled out.

The incident congested traffic for those commuting to work that morning. “The whole block was filled with fire trucks,” Ken Felicio, a West Walnut Street resident said. “I couldn’t get out of my driveway.”

Detectives ask anyone with information to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.  

The Herald will update this story.