By Arielle Dollinger
A Northport woman and her son had escaped an active house fire when she re-entered the home in what police said may have been an attempt to rescue two cats – an alleged effort that ended in her death.
Police arrived at 52 Theron Place at 7:40 a.m. today to find Ellen Carberry, 64, dead inside the house. Carberry was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner, police said.
John Carberry, 30, a brown-haired man with a scruffy beard, remained at the scene during police investigation, which is ongoing.
The smoke was thick and worried neighbors, said neighbor Jill Krahels.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” she said. “We were all so scared.”
Ocean Avenue resident Henry Murer went to the house to see what was going on after seeing “every fire truck, police car in the world” drive past his house.
“The house is a total shambles,” said Murer, 83, who has lived in Northport for 25 years.
Neighbor Fran Quist, a 12-year Northport resident, knew Carberry in an “over-the-fence” way, she said.
“I just knew her to wave to,” Quist said.
Quist saw Carberry as “an old-fashioned type of lady.”
“She was old-fashioned in her thinking; very, turn-of-the-century kind of. You know, you churn your own butter, you cut your own wood,” Quist said.
A few years ago, when Quist cut down a tree near her house, Carberry asked her if she could have the wood, Quist recalled.
“She didn’t believe in oil companies, she wasn’t going to pay those ‘bloodsuckers,’” Quist said. “She heated up her house with a stove, a wood burning stove, and she said she could definitely use it.”
According to Quist, Carberry worked in research. Quist said that she thought Carberry had worked for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The laboratory confirmed on Friday that Carberry worked there as a “seasonal driver” during the year 2000.