Charred remains of the Poughkeepsie house where a fire killed three people, including two Marist College students
A Long Island woman was among the three people killed in an early-morning fire near Marist College Saturday, authorities said.
Kerry Fitzsimmons, of Commack, was one of the two Marist College students who died in the fire, Poughkeepsie police said. The other student has been identified as Eva Block, 21, of Woodbridge, Conn.
A third victim, a male in his 20s, also died in the fire.
Four others escaped from the house with smoke inhalation, and were treated and released from the hospital.
The fire began sometime after 1 a.m at 112 Fairview Ave., officials said. The fire chief believes the fire may have started in the back of the three-story house, where six female students from Marist lived.
A father of one of the women who lived at the home visited the charred remains Sunday. His own daughter wasn't home at the time of the fire, but he said four of the other women, along with three of their boyfriends, were inside and asleep after having a dinner party celebrating the beginning of a new semester.
"I'm so fortunate that for whatever reason my daughter decided to leave," said John Petrini. He said had mixed emotions Sunday: grateful his daughter wasn't inside the house during the fire, and devastated for the lives lost.
"These were beautiful children," said John Petrini. "This is just horrible."
Neighbor Barbara Milera witnessed the fire while walking her dog. She helped calm the two women and their boyfriends who made it out alive.
"In the blink of an eye, to lose their lives in the blink of an eye," said Milera, who cried as she recounted the incident to NBC New York.
It's unclear what caused the fire, but Kevin Kihlmire, who grew up in the 100-year-old home and now lives next door, described hearing an explosion.
"By the time we got outside to try to do something, it was so far gone," said Kihlmire.
In a statement, Marist College said that school security and other officials are "working closely with the emergency responders to gather more information about the incident."
The house was privately owned and was not affiliated with the college.
The Town of Poughkeepsie police continue their investigation.