More than 150 firefighters struggled in the brutal cold to put out a large fire that consumed a townhouse on Long Island Friday night, authorities say.
Multiple departments were called to the fire just after 6 p.m. on Willets Road in Albertson, a hamlet in Nassau just south of Roslyn, according to Mike Uttaro, a spokesman for the Nassau County Fire Department.
Neighbors said they saw heavy black smoke billowing from the home before it went up in flames.
"I saw a lot of smoke coming out of the house, and 20 minutes later, it just -- phew!" said Maggie Messina.
Neighbors said there are two residents living in two different units in the home. One of them was out of town, and the other has been accounted for, according to neighbors.
The blaze gutted the townhouse.
It was so cold that some of the water firefighters used to extinguish the flames froze on power lines and hoses, hindering their efforts.
Twenty neighbors were asked to leave their homes as firefighters battled the fire. Power was also temporarily cut to about 1,000 customers so that trucks could get in, according to Uttaro.
Long Island Rail Road service was disrupted by the fire. The home is one block from the Oyster Bay line, and firefighters needed to stretch hoses over the tracks to battle the blaze, suspending service for commuters on the branch Friday night. A bus shuttle was transporting passengers between Mineola and Oyster Bay.
It's not clear how the fire started, but it does not yet appear to be suspicious. Investigators will look into a cause.