Arson Squad labels it ‘suspicious’
Five people escaped from a fire at a Madison Street residence in Westbury on July 2.
According to Nassau County Arson Bomb Squad detectives, at about 1:20 a.m., a female, 27, was in her bedroom when she heard glass break and started to smell smoke. She alerted four other male tenants, ages 8, 33, 42 and 51. All evacuated the residence and no injuries were reported.
Westbury Fire Department Chief Ken Gass Jr. said his department responded minutes after the alarm went off. Upon arriving, the chief related, he “observed heavy fire showing from the second floor of the structure. An immediate interior attack was made by approximately 40 firefighters. The house fire was brought under control in approximately one hour and 10 minutes.”
Gass directed the operations as his department received mutual aid from the Carle Place, Hicksville and Jericho fire departments.
In addition, apparatus and firefighters from the Mineola, Syosset and East Meadow departments stood by at Westbury Fire Department headquarters.
Red Cross spokesperson Michael Devulpillieres said the organization helped three of the residents, providing money for food, hotel and other emergency needs.
The residence sustained severe damage, according to detectives. Nassau County Fire Marshal Marc Seibert was on the scene.
“The fire is deemed suspicious at this time and the investigation continues,” read a press release.
On July 3, The Westbury Times visited the scene and spoke to Carlos Tavares, a contractor who works with the property manager. He said the house was a rental and the plan was to do a full restoration. This initially involved clearing all the charred and wet material to get rid of the burnt smell and prevent mold.
Tavares was getting ready to seal the house with plywood boards in anticipation of the Fourth of July weekend. This was to discourage potential squatters, he stated.
Nassau County records list the owners as Stanley Heimink and Kenneth Willingham. They could not be reached for comment.
On July 5, the Times contacted the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office and learned that the fire is still of an undetermined origin.