Four residents of a multifamily home at 19 Whisper Ln. escaped a structure fire on Thursday morning, Milton Fire Chief Chris Poirier said.

The fire started sometime after resident Amy Sheltra left for work around 6:20 a.m. Milton Fire Department received a call the structure was aflame around 7:04 a.m. according to Poirier.

Milton fire crews responded five minutes later and were shortly joined by Colchester and Georgia fire departments. Milton police were already on scene and had assisted the occupants out of the building, according to Poirier.

Firefighters had the site under control within 45 minutes, though the roof of the main house and second floor of the addition sustained significant damage, which Poirier estimates around $200,000. Both families will be displaced, he said.  

The cause of the fire has not been determined and will be further investigated by the state police. Poirier said Halloween decorations and pumpkins placed close to the home’s exterior may be to blame. Foul play is not suspected at this time, he said.

Colchester High School teacher Helen Dunn reported the incident when she saw the flames on her commute to work from Fairfax.

“It went up so quickly,” Dunn said. “The flames were shooting up; I could hear the windows popping.”

The residence was home to Vickie and Alfred “Jim” Mayo in one unit and their daughter, Amy Sheltra; her husband, Donny, and 10-year-old son, Mason, in the other, according to the Mayos’ eldest daughter, Lisa Quintin. The families lived on Whisper Lane for about 15 years.

The Sheltras’ dog, Cain, safely exited the burning building, but their cat, Tomtom, is still missing, Quintin said.

“It’s amazing how a small community and neighbors, when something like this happens, come together,” Quintin said. Neighbors offered the Mayos and Sheltras tea, clothing and a place to stay.

“Everybody is safe. Everybody is alive,” she said. “That’s what matters.”