Five members of a Stoughton family and their four dogs escaped a fire that significantly damaged the rear of their home Saturday.
"The first arriving companies had heavy fire and heavy black smoke coming from the home. You could see it from approximately half a mile away," Stoughton Fire Chief Mark Dolloff said.
"The fire traveled throughout the attic area [and] also through the whole basement area. [Firefighters] had to open up a lot of walls to find the fire throughout the building."
The fire's cause is unknown, and remains under investigation, Dolloff said.
Dolloff called the house a "total loss" due to the extent of the damage.
Dolloff said there were three propane tanks found.
"We believe one of the propane tanks may have helped feed the fire, but it was not the cause of the fire," he said.
The home is owned by Andrea Cooper, who has lived there with her family since the house was built about 45 years ago, said her brother, Burt Peretsky, a Canton resident.
Andrea’s son, Arthur Cooper, a Stoughton resident, said his mom is a good person and has gone through a lot of personal loss in recent years. Arthur lived in the house as a boy.
"My mother has already buried my older sister, younger sister, my dad—she doesn’t deserve this," he said.
"All she does is help people."
Arthur said his mother is taking care of her deceased daughter's three children and they are living with her in the home. Andrea's other daughter, Danielle, also lives in the house, along with her son.
Of six total occupants, there were five people in the house at the time of the fire, Arthur said.
Dolloff said the entire family, as well as its pets, were out of the house when Stoughton firefighters arrived.
Andrea is a social worker for the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Department, Arthur said. He said his mother has an award in the house given to her by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in recognition for her volunteer work with New York families following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Dolloff said Stoughton Fire Captain Jim Bertram and firefighter Jack Hurley sustained minor injuries on scene. Hurley was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Randolph and Holbrook covered one of Stoughton’s fire stations.