Police hurt rescuing man from fire


BY PEGGY SPELLMAN HOEY |STAFF WRITER

Two police officers and the man they rescued from a burning home in Miller Place were treated for smoke inhalation Sunday, Suffolk Police said.

The incident began shortly after 3 p.m. when a neighbor saw smoke coming from the back of a home occupied by Brian Reynolds, 45, of 29 Wabil Road and called 911, police said.

"[The smoke] was coming out of the back of the house," said Cheryl Bonnetti, the neighbor across the street, who said she was home with her family when the fire started. Though she did not know who called the incident in to police, Ms. Bonnetti said her 6-year-old twin sons, Julian and Christian, caught sight of the fire as they were playing with Lego blocks with their father. Emergency personnel responded quickly and despite the amount of smoke, Mr. Reynolds was brought to safety while the flames were extinguished.

When Sixth Precinct officers Paul Allicino and Richard Caiado responded to the scene and forced the front door open, police said they found Mr. Reynolds inside and pulled him out of the burning home. But Mr. Reynolds told the officers his wife and mother-in-law were still inside, so the officers, along with Miller Place Fire Department assistant chief Paul Schroeder, attempted to enter and were driven back by the heat and smoke, police said. The women, it turned out, were not at home, police said.

The blaze drew at least four battalions of firefighters, including first responders from the Miller Place, Mount Sinai, Coram and Rocky Point fire departments.

Suffolk Police Arson Squad detectives later determined the fire originated from a rear enclosed porch and was accidental, police said.

The Reynolds family has moved into a mobile home on the property. They could not be reached for comment.

Both officers and Mr. Reynolds were transported to Mather Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. Police said Wednesday that all three have been released from the hospital.

Ms. Bonnetti said that although her sons were relieved that Mr. Reynolds escaped the blaze and no one else was home, they were concerned about his dog. But their concerns were quickly allayed.

"I [later] saw [Ms. Reynolds] walking the dog," she said.

Noel DiGerolamo, second vice president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, said the officers are recovering well and are back at work.

"These officers exemplify the professionalism that exists within the Suffolk County Police Department," Mr. DiGerolamo said.

peggy@northshoresun.com