Photos: Hero cops rescue woman from burning Riverhead house

Two Riverhead police officers used a ladder to rescue a woman from the second floor of a burning house on Old Farm Road in Riverhead Wednesday afternoon.

Officers Patrick McDermott and Michael Carrieri rescued the woman, who did not live in the house and whose name was not known, from the house’s top floor as it was fully-engulfed shortly before 1 p.m., according to Riverhead Police Capt. Richard Smith.

“Officer Carrieri and I were the first two on the scene,” Mr. McDermott said. “He was able to get a ladder from the side yard of a neighbor’s house and we went around back where there was a woman hanging out of the window. Officer Carrieri and I put the ladder up to the window and she was able to come down the ladder.”

Riverhead Fire Department volunteers, with help from Flanders and Jamesport firefighters, who manned the Riverhead fire station in case another call came in, quickly extinguished the fire, which Riverhead Fire Chief Nick Luparella said was mostly confined to the outside of the home. He also said there was smoke and water damage inside.

The woman who was rescued, who is dating the homeowner’s son, was attended to in an ambulance but not hospitalized, police and the mother of the homeowner, identified as Kathleen Endres, told the News-Review.

Firefighter Mike Argenti also rescued a pet rabbit from the first floor during the blaze. The rabbit was also suffering from smoke inhalation. It was unconscious before firefighters gave it oxygen and revived it.

Steve Buthmann, who lives down the street, called 911.

“I was just coming home at the time and was going to make the turn and I could see they were flames coming outside from the right side of the house,” he said. “There was an awful lot of smoke. So as I pulled off the road to call. Then I’m watching this fire get worse and worse by the second as I’m talking to the 911 dispatcher.

“I have to say, they responded very quickly,” he continued. “The first responders were here within two or three minutes of the call. By that time, a couple other neighbors had seen the smoke and they had come up and started knocking on the door and the windows because they weren’t sure if there was anybody home or not.”

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TIM GANNON PHOTO | Riverhead police officers Patrick McDermott and Michael Carrieri.