See all of our coverage of the Sullivan Family Fire.
This story was updated at 2:50 p.m.
CARMEL, N.Y. — Friends of Thomas Sullivan, the Larchmont police captain killed Tuesday morning in a fire that also claimed his wife and two daughters, were devastated by the loss of a man they said did anything he could to help his community.
"He was a great kid growing up, and as an adult he was role model not only for kids but for people my age that knew him," said Richard Fehn, who grew up with Sullivan and whose son was friends with Sullivan's son Tommy. "He was a great person who dedicated his life to serving people. He dedicated all of his time to the community, and it's all on a volunteer basis. There are people that choose to participate and those that choose to watch. He chose to participate."
Sullivan, 48, was killed along with his wife, Donna, 47, and the couple's daughters Megan, 17 and Mairead, 12. The only survivor was 20-year-old Thomas Sullivan Jr., who escaped. He was released Tuesday morning from the hospital and is staying with his grandparents, said Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell.
Officials at Carmel schools have crisis specialists on hand, said Sue Dieck, a spokesman for the district.
Theresa Karpenick, whose daughter was good friends with Megan, said students were trying to come to terms with what had happened.
"When the kids got to school this morning they got told and they all had a moment of silence," she said. "It's just not fair."
Karpenick's daughter Tammi Booker said Megan wanted to be a nurse when she grew up.
"She was always a happy person," Booker said. "She would never judge anybody."
Fehn said his son, also named Richard, is a member of the Kent Volunteer Fire Department and was on stand-by during the fire. Fehn said he knew the home was Sullivan's as soon as they heard the address.
"The reaction is complete shock," Fehn said. "You don’t expect bad things to happen to people that you know. When you hear of these things, you do feel sorry and remorse for those that are impacted. But when it's someone you personally know it takes it to a different level."
Larchmont business owner Geoff Hutchby has known Sullivan casually for more than 25 years. Hutchby, who owns Aligned Right Lock and Door in Larchmont, also lives in Carmel near the Sullivans. He said he was waiting to hear the names of the fire victims and was in disbelief when he heard it was the Sullivans.
"When they said Tommy Sullivan, I initially thought maybe he went over to help put out the fire," he said. "I can't believe it's him. I just can't believe it's him."