MONMOUTH — The exact cause of a fire that destroyed a Back Street home Monday probably will remain a mystery.

Monmouth Fire Chief Dan Roy said damage caused by the fire makes it impossible to pinpoint what caused the fire at 81 Back St.

“At this time there is no evidence to suggest the cause of the fire was anything other than accidental,” Roy said.

Investigator Mary MacMaster of the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire originated near the rear hallway, Roy said. An oil-fired hot-air furnace and a window-mounted pellet stove were in that area.

“Both heating appliances were in operation at the time of the incident,” Roy said. “The extensive damage precludes ruling in or ruling out either of the heating appliances.”

No one was home when the fire broke out around 9:30 a.m. and no injuries were reported, Monmouth Assistant Fire Chief Ed Pollard said at the time.

The home is owned by Ronald and Donna Beaule, according to town property records. Glenn Scalfer, a Monmouth resident who said he had been house-sitting in recent days, said Mike Beaule lived in the mobile home with his girlfriend and her two teenage children. Scalfer said the family was on a cruise and unable to return home after the fire.

The mobile home, which has an enclosed porch spanning most of its length, was almost entirely on fire and starting to collapse when the first firefighters arrived, Pollard said. The flames spread briefly to long-dry grass behind the building, burning about a 50-foot area, he said.

Pollard said he first put the firefighters to work dousing the grass fire before turning their attention to the mobile home.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]

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