HEMPSTEAD (WABC) --A young girl was rescued from a house fire on Long Island Thursday, and authorities now believe it may be a case of arson involving squatters.
Good Samaritans jumped into action as flames quickly ripped through the house on Long Beach Road in Hempstead, and the 12-year-old girl barely escaped with her life by jumping out a second-floor window.
The fire was already consuming the house as neighbors woke to a raging inferno, and the
"If you would have seen the flames coming out behind her, she had no choice," neighbor Nynisha Preacely said.
It began around 9 a.m. and quickly spread. Reggie Brown, who was nearby, ran to help the girl.
"I think she had a broken leg," he said. "She said thank you, but she was in shock. She was scared. She couldn't think straight."
By the time firefighters began working the blaze, it was chewing through the second and third floors.
"It was pretty fierce," Brown said. "And I don't think anybody else was in the house, maybe just the three people who were there because it was a squatters' house."
Preacely said she had seen people come and go from the house but did not know them.
"I've never really seen anybody stable in that house," she said. "So what I heard, it was squatters."
The Nassau County fire marshal is now investigating to determine whether the fire was intentionally set or was an accident.