5 dead when fire tears through home in Riverhead

RIVERHEAD, Suffolk County (WABC) -- Five people were found dead after a large fire swept through house on Long Island overnight.

The victims were all found on the top floor of the three-story home in Riverhead, with four apartments that went up in flames just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Firefighters arrived at the home on East 2nd Street to find fire shooting through the roof after an eyewitness walking his dog called 911.

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Of the 10 occupants in the building, several were able to escape and told rescuers that others were trapped inside.

As firefighters tried to gain entry, a stairwell on the third floor may have collapsed, trapping the remaining victims.

Firefighters put out the flames and started finding bodies during an ensuing search.

"When they brought the bodies out, that hit home a little bit," neighbor Steven Tracy said. "Not a good day."

The remaining five occupants are all accounted for, police said.

The fire was so intense that residents feared it would jump beyond just one home, but they were unaware not everyone was able to escape.

"We never believed some people were trapped in there," neighbor Maria Lena said. "We think everybody came out."

One firefighter was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of non life threatening injuries.

In all, eight fire departments responded.

It took several hours to bring the blaze under control, and the structure has been deemed unsafe due to heavy damage.

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Riverhead police are currently leading the investigation into what sparked the blaze, with Suffolk police assisting.

The owner of the building lives on the first floor.

In the initial stages of the investigation, officials said the fire does not appear to be suspicious.

"They were not in their beds," Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer said. "They were probably attempting to get out."

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