New details are emerging about a massive fire that destroyed a multi-million dollar mansion in Hingham, Massachusetts, on Monday, though officials warn we may never know the exact cause because the blaze was so destructive.
The fire broke out shortly before 1 p.m. at a home on Mann Street, with three people inside at the time. Video from nearby showed heavy flames and smoke could be seen from as far as 20 miles away in Revere.
The owner of the home, who did not want to appear on camera, said his family just moved in two weeks ago. He was at the scene on Tuesday. He said his 11-year-old son was watching TV with the nanny on the first floor when they saw flames coming from the porch.
He said his son helped alert a painter who was doing work on the second floor. Everyone escaped unharmed.
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"What a courageous kid huh?" Eileen McNally of Weymouth, commented. "I'm a mother so I know it's tough. I can't imagine."
According to Zillow, the home was sold on June 10 for $3.2 million. As of Monday afternoon all that remained of the building was its chimney.
Here's everything we know about the fire so far:
Home a 'total loss'
Hingham fire officials said the 6,000-square-foot house was a total loss and other area homes also sustained damage.
Firefighters were first called to the scene at approximately 12:50 p.m., after receiving multiple calls about a home being on fire on Mann Street.
While responding to the scene, firefighters said they could see large amounts of smoke above the house. Upon arrival, the house was fully involved and more fire personnel were called in. Another alarm was struck around 1:30 p.m. to call additional firefighters to the scene.
At least five other homes were damaged and it's possible a second home will have to be torn down after the heat from the fire melted the siding.
Difficult conditions contributed to fire's fast spread
Initially, because of the location of the home on top of a hill, firefighters said they had difficulty getting adequate water and had to stretch additional hose lines. In addition, high wind speeds caused the fire to quickly spread and blew hot embers onto four other nearby homes.
“The windy conditions and size of the home made this a difficult fire to extinguish,” Hingham Fire Chief Steve Murphy said in a statement. “I am glad that no one was hurt and our hearts go out to the family that lost their home. I’d like to thank our mutual aid partners from neighboring departments who helped us extinguish the fire and prevent further property damage to other homes in the area.”
PHOTOS: Massive Fire Destroys Building in Hingham
Was anyone injured?
A nanny was reportedly home watching a child at the home where the fire started. Both made it out OK. A painter was also inside, painting on the second floor, but escaped unharmed. Fire officials said the home was destroyed and the family will be displaced.
Three people were also inside a neighboring home when the fire started and they all got out safely. That family will also be displaced.
Several other homes in the area were evacuated as a precaution due the fire embers spreading to nearby houses.
One family that lives across the street said they have holes in their roof from wind-blown embers and their fence briefly caught fire. Some neighbors were seen spraying down their homes with water to keep the fire from spreading.
"Three's like three holes in the top of our roof that they had to take care of and the back fence was on fire," resident Matt Sullivan said. "It's all charred up."
How many firefighters responded in all?
Approximately 120 firefighters from nine communities responded to the scene, including firefighters from Hull, Cohasset, Norwell, Scituate, Rockland, Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree and Hanover. Fire chiefs from Brockton and Whitman also responded to provide assistance. The Abington Fire Department provided station coverage.
In addition, personnel from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Boston Sparks Association and ambulances from South Shore Hospital responded to the scene.
How did the fire start?
The cause and origin of the fire are under investigation by the Hingham Fire Department, the Hingham Police Department and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office.The chief warned Tuesday that with the amount of debris casued by the fire, they may never pinpoint the cause.
"In process of obtaining videos from nearby houses seeing if we can find anything but sometimes with this much damage it doesn’t become determined," Hingham Fire Chief Steve Murphy said.
Witnesses said flames were first reported on the front porch.