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A four-alarm fire tore through a house under renovation in South Boston on Monday night, displacing about five neighbors and causing $1 million in damage, officials said.

The blaze at 797 E. 4th St. started at about 10:30 p.m., Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn told reporters at the scene. He said no one was living in the home because it was undergoing renovations.

However, Finn said, about five neighbors were displaced, and he was unsure when they would be able to return to their homes.

“They’re not going to get in tonight,” Finn said. “They’re going to be displaced for a little bit.”

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He said there was “heavy, heavy fire” when firefighters arrived and that two adjacent homes suffered damage, including ceiling damage.

Because the homes are so close in proximity, “it makes for a very difficult challenge,” Finn said.

There were no injuries, he said, and damages were estimated at $1 million. He said the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Firefighters had knocked down the blaze as of 11 p.m., while stunned neighbors looked on and the building continued to smolder.

Kim Bradley, 46, who lives one block away, said she was on her rooftop deck when she saw the flames.

“You could feel the heat,” Bradley said as she flipped through photos and videos on her phone. “That’s when we decided to come down.”

Cristin Derona, 39, also lives nearby and said the fire reminded her of a fire at a hotel on Emerson Street a few years back.

“I could smell it, and then I saw the flames,” Derona said. “A hotel right around the corner went up like this a few years ago.”

Katie Mason, 27, has lived directly behind 797 E. 4th St. for four years, and said she has never seen anything like this.

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“We heard a pop, and I was like, ‘What was that?’ My whole apartment smells like smoke right now,” she said.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross.