CARMEL, N.Y. (AP) A suburban New York police captain who died in a horrific house fire helped save his son and then ran back inside to try to rescue his wife and two teenage daughters before they all succumbed to the blaze, according to his brother-in-law.
"Tommy Sullivan was a hero," Thomas Zielinski told Journal News after speaking to the surviving son. "After he got his son out, he ran back in to get the rest of the family."
The son, 20-year-old Thomas Sullivan Jr., escaped by crawling down the stairs and out of the garage after being woken up by his father early Tuesday morning. He pulled the garage door open with a rope because the electricity was out. He told arriving police officers that his family was trapped inside their Carmel home, about 60 miles north of New York City.
"He was screaming that there was fire in the house," said Carmel Police Chief Michael Johnson.
The other victims are believed to be Sullivan's wife, Donna, and his daughters, 18-year-old Meaghan and 13-year-old Mairead.