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Police captain, wife, 2 daughters die in Carmel house fire

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Albany/HV: Police captain, wife, 2 daughters die in Carmel house fire
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An early morning fire in Putnam County claims the lives of four people. A police captain, his wife and two daughters were killed. Their son has been taken to the hospital. Our John Wagner joins us now with more.

CARMEL, N.Y. -- “It’s not fair. It’s not fair,” cried family friend, Theresa Karpenick

A role model family, Larchmont Police Captain, with the force for 20 years, and a tight knit neighborhood, all devastated by an early morning fire.

John Poleway, Larchmont Police Chief said, “Words escape me. A man full of integrity, honest family man.”

Police said Tommy Sullivan Sr., his wife Donna and their teenage daughters, Meaghan and Mairead, awoke but could not escape a radiant, consuming fire.

Michael Johnson, Town of Carmel Police Chief said, “The metal joints popped out and everything collapses so although the home is well built structurally it doesn't stand up to fire.”

Police blocked off the street as they search through rubble for the bodies.

Johnson said, “Recovered three bodies they were very well burned. It’s very difficult to identify them without an autopsy and DNA.

Family and friends remember them as incredibly kind people: churchgoers, coaches of local youth teams, volunteers.

Nicolette Adams, a friend of Meaghan said, “Her eyes were always glowing, I guess that's what I’ll remember the most, just how nice she was to me.”

Poleway said, “A loss of someone of Captain Sullivan’s caliber is devastating to us but we will pull together as a community, as a police department.”

The lone survivor, Tommy Jr., crawled down stairs and escaped out the garage after hearing his dad's warnings.

Mary Ellen Odell, Putnam County Executive said, “Young Tommy Sullivan will have a very large family now surrounding him to make sure that he moves forward knowing that he is very much loved and cared for.”

Tommy Junior was treated at Danbury Hospital for smoke inhalation and is now staying with relatives.


Carmel Schools Superintendent James Ryan released a statement saying, "Earlier today, we received the shocking news of a tragic house fire in Carmel that claimed the lives of two Carmel High School students, Meaghan (senior) and Mairead Sullivan (freshman) and their parents. Our school community is devastated, and we are working together in this very difficult time to offer support to students and staff. Our crisis teams are on hand around the district, and most especially at Carmel High School, to speak with students and families in our schools. We are all deeply saddened by this horrific tragedy. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Sullivan family."

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