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Sea Cliff Fire Department wrestles house fire on Downing Avenue

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The Sea Cliff Fire Department received an alarm at 1:19 a.m. on Dec. 17 alerting them of a house fire next to 110 Downing Ave.

First Assistant Chief Jim Ajamian was the first to reach the blaze, arriving at 1:24 a.m. He said he immediately saw that the entire house was engulfed in flames. The fire was under control within three hours, he said, and the SCFD received aid from 13 other departments, including Glenwood Fire Company, Glen Cove Fire Department, Glen Cove Emergency Medical Services, Locust Valley Fire Department, Bayville Fire Company, Atlantic Steamer, East Norwich, Syosset, Roslyn Rescue, Hicksville, Port Washington and Plainview.

Ajamian said roughly 100 to 150 firefighters helped put the fire out, one of whom was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The homeowners were away on vacation.

There was major structural damage to the building, Ajamian said, and everything was contained to that one house.

Resident Suzanne Cohen lives near the house, which she said sits on a large plot of property making it visible to residents of surrounding blocks. Though she was never afraid that the fire would spread to her home, she said it was no less scary.

“It was really, really terrifying for me because I’ve never seen anything like that in real life,” Cohen said. “It looked like you were watching a movie in real life.”

Cohen commended the fire department for its swift and effective response. “They were just amazing,” Cohen said. “You hear stories and you hear about things they do but to see it front of your eyes is a whole other thing.”

Ajamian said the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire.