Update 10/19/2013: According to authorities the tragic fire which killed a mother and her children started in the living room. The Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiners found the cause of death for the family to be a combination of smoke inhalation and thermal burns.
Tragedy struck Friday night on Long Island when a fire ripped through a Shirley home. The fire started in the Hollywood Drive house a little after 10 p.m. The victims of the blaze were a mother, two fraternal twins, and her 7-year-old son. Neighbors had very little time to react as they described the fire as quick.
“I heard loud popping noise and I came outside and the house was engulfed in flames,” said neighbor Ruth-Ann Krafve in an interview with CBS news. “It was pouring out the windows, out the sides, it was nothing, nothing I could do.”
Jennifer McCusker, 41, tried saving her children, Ava Jane Mistretta, Brendan Mistretta, and Aidan Tarbell, put passed out at the foot of the twins cribs. The family was pronounced dead at Brookhaven Medical Center in East Patchogue later that night.
Two neighbors, who were an emergency medical technician and firefighter, tried saving the family but the smoke and heat were too strong. By the time the fire department arrived, the house was completely engulfed in bright orange flames. An investigation showed the fire started in the living room. The mother and twins were found in the back bedroom and the 7-year-old boy was found in the front bedroom. Police say McCusker was holding one of the twins.
Neighbors are shocked the family is gone now. “Every day they play, they swap clothes, they share snacks, they go to the ice cream truck – they were kids,” Krafve said. “They were just babies.”
The father of the children was not home during the tragic blaze as he worked a night shift.
Feature Image Courtesy of CBS News