An early morning fire tore through a house in Manomet Sunday, leaving a young family of four temporarily without a home.
Fire Chief Ed Bradley said the 2 a.m. fire at 19 Penny Lane in the Shallow Pond Estates neighborhood burned the porch off the front of the house and destroyed the contents of almost every room.
The house is owned by Jerry and Siobhan Tavares.
The couple and their two children, a toddler and an infant, barely escaped out the back of the house before the two-story home was engulfed in flames.
“They heard noises and woke up and saw the flames and bright light coming in the window. The whole front of the house was on fire and they were just able to grab the babies and get out the back,” Bradley said.
Bradley said the cause of the fire was accidental, the result of a cigarette being disposed of in dry mulch beside the front porch earlier in the night.
Bradley said the house had just recently been landscaped and this spring’s extremely dry conditions left the mulch beside the front porch vulnerable to fire.
Bradley said the fire gutted nearly every room in the house, destroying all of the family’s possessions.
Neighbors took the family in for the night and the American Red Cross and relatives are helping them get back on their feet, Bradley said.
Bradley said the fire demonstrates the dangers facing homeowners in this unusually arid spring.
He noted a fire last month that burned the back of an apartment house on Summer Street. In both cases, the careless disposal of a cigarette started the fire but the dry condition of the siding fueled the flames.
“Everyone knows the forest is dry but they don’t realize their mulch and their own house siding is extremely dry. It doesn’t take much to get them going,” Bradley said.
Bradley advised residents to be especially careful with smoking materials and grills this spring and cautioned against mulching up to the side of residences.