05/01/2012

NY police captain, wife, 2 daughters dead in fire

Larchmont Sgt. says captain's son was the only one who made it out

Associated Press

CARMEL, N.Y. — A veteran police captain, his wife and two teenage daughters died in a fire that swept through their home in New York City's northern suburbs Tuesday morning, authorities said. One son managed to escape the blaze and was hospitalized.

Larchmont police Sgt. Ronald Knudson identified the dead as Thomas Sullivan of the Larchmont police, his wife, Donna, and their two daughters.

A son escaped from the burning Carmel home in Putnam County, about 60 miles north of New York City.

"His son was the only one who made it out, in a family of five," Knudson told the Journal News. "His wife and two daughters perished with Tommy. His son is in the hospital and we don't know his status."

The Carmel Police Department said in a release that a 20-year-old male resident was able to escape from the house and was being treated for smoke inhalation at a hospital.

Firefighters responded to the Wyndham Lane house around 1 a.m. in response to a 911 call from a neighbor.

"There's nothing standing but two garage doors," said Lorraine Girolamo who lives two doors from burned-down home.

"I slept through the whole thing. I didn't even hear the sirens," said Girolamo, who said she didn't really know the family but saw them almost daily and would wave to them.

She said they moved in about 11 years ago when the residential development opened.

The blaze was so intense that it melted the siding of two nearby homes and prevented firefighters from entering, said Carmel Police Chief Michael Johnson.

Firefighters from Lake Carmel, Mahopac and Brewster assisted in bringing the fire under control at around 5 a.m.

"The majority of the residence has collapsed and an excavator is being transported to the scene. This will be a lengthy investigation and recovery effort in order to ascertain the origin of the fire and the recovery of potential victims," Carmel police said.

The investigation was being conducted by Putnam County Fire Investigation Team, Putnam County Sheriff's Office and Carmel police.

Sullivan was a 15-veteran of the Larchmont police department, in neighboring Westchester County. He had previously served six to seven years in the Bronx with the New York Police Department.

"He was a dedicated law enforcement individual, an extremely great family man," Knudson said. "His life revolved around his family and his job."

Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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