Six people were displaced after an early morning house fire in Milton on Friday morning.
Fire Chief Don Turner said crews were called to 8 Trayah Dr. around 5 a.m. November 3 for a fully involved structure fire. The initial dispatch said occupants were still in the home, but Turner said they’d escaped without injury by the time firefighters arrived.
The Red Cross is assisting homeowner Bethanne Marshall and the six children who were inside, a press release said.
Turner said state fire investigators determined the blaze was accidental and caused by improperly disposed smoking material on the porch.
“The way the wind was whipping, swirling – I’ve seen this in my tenure at least two to three other times where fires have been caused by [that],” Turner said.
The one-story, ranch-style home was constructed by Habitat for Humanity about eight years ago. The modern construction materials – vinyl siding and foam insulation – were highly flammable and got the fire rolling, he said.
Crews knocked down the flames in about 20 minutes, preventing its spread. They used a nearby fire hydrant and maintained a constant water supply, Turner said.
Though much of the family’s personal property can be saved, Turner expected the home to be deemed a substantial if not total loss.
“Most of the roof, a good half has been burned off,” he said. “The front wall is pretty charred, and the electrical will have to be redone.”
The family’s dog, turtles and fish all survived. Firefighters removed two cats from the home, applying oxygen to one. The third is thought to have escaped, Turner said.
“It’s quite a hit,” he said, noting Marshall formerly served on Milton Rescue. “She got her kids out, which was important, but you still feel bad when it was an accidental thing like this.”
The community has already started a GoFundMe for the family, setting a $30,000 goal. As of noontime, $765 was raised.
Turner said the blaze reemphasizes the importance of properly disposing combustible material: far away from the property, including the porch and garage.
This includes ashes from a woodstove, which Turner expects will be turned on soon as winter approaches. He also suggested getting heating systems cleaned and inspected before use.
Donate to the family’s GoFundMe at gofundme.com/4nqsoio.