The calm of a summer Sunday afternoon in the southern section of West Islip was shattered as a home at 358 Bay Third St. erupted in flames.
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, according to Chief Scott Harvey.
The fire started around 2:30 p.m. at the home, which was unoccupied at the time. Five fire departments–West Islip, Bay Shore, North Babylon, Babylon and Deer Park–were at the scene to fight the fire, in part because of the sweltering temperatures outside, Harvey said.
"They can only be here for 15 to 20 minutes and then we have to rotate," Harvey said of keeping firefighters out of danger from the heat.
Damage to the home, located on the southeastern portion of the small street that borders the parking lot of Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, was "pretty extensive," Harvey said, noting that flames were through the attic when West Islip firefighters arrived at the scene. "It was already pretty bad."
The three injured firefighters–two from West Islip and one from North Babylon–were taken to Good Samaritan and are all expected to be OK, Harvey said.
The fire was under control as of 4:30 p.m. and arson investigators are on the scene as the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, Harvey said.
One investigator told Patch that the location of the home–the last house on a dead end block and surrounded by tall trees–could mean that the fire was burning for a while before authorities were called.
A woman walking down Center Bay Drive toward the home nearly two hours after the fire started screamed: "It's my house. My house burnt down."