Fire crews arrived at the home on Washington Avenue in Garden City around 6 a.m. to find heavy smoke pouring from the top level of the house, and when passersby noticed three vehicles in the family's driveway and heard a dog yelping, there was a feeling of dread.
"I didn't hear anyone," witness Joseph Morton said. "I was screaming, running around the sides of the fence. The smoke was so bad in the back of the house, yeah, it was a horrible experience."
Authorities also say no one from inside the house even called 911, another bad sign.
RELATED | Massive Long Island fire expected to smolder all day; LIRR service impacted
"The first arriving police officer tried to make entry, kicking the door in," Nassau County Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro said. "He was met with intense heat and smoke."
The victims were identified only as a 62-year-old man, a 60-year-old woman and an 18-year-old woman, but neighbors say they were parents and a daughter who were very active in the Garden City schools.
They say the teen was a high school senior with big dreams.
"She was an all around good student, nice girl," neighbor Kathy Ford said. "I believe she was going study voice in college She had just committed to NYU. They had the door all decorated with the NYU colors."
A police officer suffered smoke inhalation and two firefighters were also injured at the scene.
They refused medical attention.
"With two major fires affecting Nassau County last night, it has been a difficult time for our first responders," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. "As always, we owe everything to the first responders who put their lives on the line to save life and property."
There is no word yet on what sparked the flames.
The investigation is active and ongoing.
ALSO READ | 'He was so lucky': 3-year-old boy survives 5-story fall out NYC apartment window
* More Long Island news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip