PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Fire marshals investigate the scene of Monday morning’s house fire.
The pre-dawn fire that completely destroyed an Aquebogue home Monday was caused accidentally by a candle being used in the homeowner’s bedroom, Riverhead police and neighbors said.
Police got a report of fire at the Trout Brook Lane house about 4 a.m. and arrived on the scene to find the porch completely engulfed in flames, according to a police report.
The homeowner and his daughter, whose names were not released, were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation and minor burns, authorities said. The family’s dog was killed in the fire, fire officials said.
Neighbors said a family cat is also missing.
Riverhead firefighters rushed to the scene and fought the blaze for more than two hours, using a ladder truck to get onto the roof of the house. Flanders Fire Department also helped in putting out the fire, officials siad. By 6 a.m., the fire was extinguished.
Video of Riverhead firefighters battling Monday morning’s fire.
Steve Amato, a friend of the homeowner and an insurance agent, said the victim was feeling ill early Monday morning. The man was looking at photos with the candle when the fire started, he said.
The contents of the home were completely ruined and the house will have to be torn down, Mr. Amato said, adding that homeowner returned to the property after he was released from the hospital to bury his beloved 7-year-old pet in the backyard, he said.
Neighbors said the victim had been living on the block for the past 12 years.
The victims’ next-door neighbor, Lidia, said she was woken up just after 4 a.m. by screaming.
“When I looked out the window, I saw a police car in front of my driveway,” said Lidia, who did not give her last name. Debris from the fire had fallen into her backyard, she added.
The victims’ neighbors said they are planning to establish a donation fund to help him and his daughter get a fresh start in the wake of the fire.