An intoxicated Davis Park man died after he lit a rug on fire and challenged his roommate to see who could stay in the house on Fire Island longer Saturday night, Suffolk County police said.

Police said Thomas Woods, 59, ignited the rug in his house at 9 Driftwood Walk sometime before 8 p.m. As the fire spread, Woods fired one or two rounds from a pre-World War I Mauser pistol, said Det. Sgt. Ed Fandrey of the Suffolk County homicide squad. Police do not know why he fired the gun.

When the fire began spreading dangerously, Woods' roommate, Rod Bennett, ran to a neighbor's house to call 911 a few minutes after 8 p.m.

Volunteers from the Davis Park Fire Department responded, along with neighbors who tried to extinguish the blaze with garden hoses and anything else they could find. But it was too late.

"All of a sudden, flames shot up," said one neighbor, Nancy Buglino. "The whole sky was lit up."

A total of 75 firefighters from neighboring Fire Island departments as well as Blue Point and Patchogue eventually responded, some traveling across the Great South Bay by ferry. The fire was brought under control in 40 minutes.

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