Update – 3 p.m.:
The five victims who perished in the fire last night were members of the same family who were natives of Jutiapa, Guatemala, relatives of the victims confirmed after being notified by local authorities.
The family — a mother, two teenage children and two nephews — lived in the third-floor apartment of the three-story wood-frame home at 46 East Second Street, according to Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, chief of the Suffolk Police Department Homicide Squad. Their bodies were discovered on the third floor, he said. Their identities have not yet been released.
Residents of the two apartments on the second floor and the owner, Carmela Cannella, who lives on the first floor, have all been accounted for, Beyrer said.
Officials from the Guatemalan Consulate in Riverhead said they are doing everything possible to assist the relatives of the deceased here and in their home country.
A preliminary investigation has determined that the cause of the fire is not criminal in nature.
The home, known as the Price-Northridge House, dates back to 1907, according to a Riverhead Town document prepared for registration of the Second & Ostrander Historic District with the National Register of Historic Places.
Original post – last updated 7:50 a.m.:
A late-night blaze at a house on East Second Street in downtown Riverhead claimed the lives of five residents, a Riverhead Fire Department spokesman said.
The house at 46 East Second Street was fully involved when Riverhead firefighters responded to the alarm at 10:37 p.m. Multiple people were able to evacuate, but others were trapped inside the multi-family residence.
Firefighters continued to search for victims into the early morning hours. The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office was called to the scene this morning. County coordinators from the Office of Emergency Management and the Suffolk County Police Department Arson Squad responded to assist the Riverhead Police Department Detective Division and the Riverhead Town Fire Marshal’s Office with the investigation.
The investigation is active and ongoing, Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said. The American Red Cross is assisting displaced residents, he said.
A Riverhead firefighter was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of a minor injury. A Riverhead police officer and three civilians were treated at the scene.
Firefighters from Flanders Fire Department and Eastport Fire Department responded to the scene to assist Riverhead Fire Department volunteers. Jamesport Fire Department stood by at RFD headquarters, Riverhead Fire Department public information officer William Sanok said.
Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Wading River Fire Department Rescue, Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance and Hampton Bays Ambulance responded. Shirley Ambulance also responded with its Rehab Unit.
Check back for more information as it is made available by Riverhead Police.
Maria Del Mar Piedrabuena of Tu Prensa Local and Stringer News Service contributed reporting.
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