Severe thunderstorms, damaging winds pose threat to tri-state area Thursday

‘Suspicious’ fire tears through house in Ronkonkoma: officials

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — A fast-moving, "suspicious" fire tore through a Long Island house lived in by a father and son early Tuesday, according to Suffolk County police.

First responders said the house was completely engulfed by flames when they arrived at about 1:30 a.m. to the home on Dorchester Road between Washington Avenue and Locust Street in Ronkonkoma.

Chuck Liebold, who lives across the street, said his family woke up after they heard a loud explosion and saw smoke coming out from inside the house.

"The older man that lives there was yelling for help, so I ran over and he was laying in the doorway," Liebold said. "I just helped him up and brought him across the street."

That man was taken to a hospital and treated for minor burns.

Authorities said they do not believe the man's adult son, identified as Robert Antonette, was in the house at the time of the fire. A cadaver dog searched inside the house and found no body.

Police said there have been several calls for service to the Ronkonkoma home over the years for Antonette's psychiatric issues. According to police, Antonette told his father a few days ago he should be careful because the house might explode.

Two weeks ago, Antonette was climbing his neighbors fences while naked and digging a hole in the back of the house saying there was a bomb, police said.

After searching with their helicopter and K9s through the neighborhood, there's been no sign of him.

Firefighters from several surrounding towns in Suffolk County put the flames under control by 6 a.m.

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