Scituate firefighters worked into Saturday putting out hot spots and cleaning up after a five-alarm blaze ripped through multiple waterfront homes in the Minot Beach area Friday night.
Five homes were destroyed and three were damaged in the blaze, officials said. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office and the Scituate fire and police departments. Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly before 8 p.m.
Three homes that sat side by side just north of the corner of Bailey’s Causeway and Glades Road were burned down to their foundations Friday night, leaving just two brick chimneys standing tall over piles of rubble.
Officials said the fire started in the middle home, 72 Glades Road, and spread to the homes on its north and south sides. Investigators were back at the scene Saturday “with heavy machinery to assist in examining the scene,” a spokesperson for the fire marshal’s office said in an e-mail Saturday.
Two other homes were badly damaged by the fire and torn down, Scituate Fire Chief John Murphy said Saturday. Another three sustained damage but can be repaired, he said. Murphy estimated the fire caused between $4 million and $5 million worth of damage.
Despite the fire’s spread, Murphy said wind coming off the ocean “wasn’t a big factor” with gusts of about 10 miles per hour, down from 30 miles per hour the day prior.
“It’s a blessing tonight that the wind wasn’t really strong, so that was on our side,” he said Friday night at the scene.
The fire displaced four families, Murphy said. Some of the buildings are seasonal properties that were unoccupied, he said. The American Red Cross and a local inn were assisting residents affected by the blaze, he said.
“We empathize with the families impacted and are fortunate none of them were hurt,” Murphy said.
Murphy said all residents got out on their own and firefighters did not have to pull anyone from the buildings.
Power and gas were shut off for most of the neighborhood Friday night as firefighters from Scituate and eight surrounding towns worked to bring the fire under control. The utilities were back on Saturday for all but six properties, Murphy said.
Murphy said the buildings in the area are separated by no more than 8 feet.
The fire glowed orange in the night, sending black smoke billowing into the sky as crews doused it with water and worked to prevent the fire from consuming the whole block.
Witnesses described the fierceness of the blaze and the frighteningly quick pace at which it began to spread.
“It all happened so fast, and it was just very bizarre because there were three buildings going up in flames at the same time,” Thomas Carr, who moved into an apartment in the area with his wife last summer, said in an interview at the scene Friday night.
“I just felt we were lucky,” he said. “I feel really bad for the other tenants who lost their homes.”
The fire was the largest in town since four homes on Humarock Beach were wiped out by a wind-whipped blaze in March 2012, Murphy said.
“The homes back then were larger and we had a lot more wind,” he said Friday night. “The only thing that kept this from going to the end of the block was the wind, the modest wind.”