SKOWHEGAN — A two-family home on West Front Street was gutted by fire Monday morning, leaving three adults and two children homeless, but no injuries were reported.

Emergency crews from several area towns responded to the fire shortly after 8 a.m. at the home attached to Lyons Inc., an entertainment and vending machine company. Firefighters were able to save two cats from the burning building, but a pet turtle died.

The road, which is also U.S. Route 2, was blocked to all traffic as crews battled the blaze. The homeowner is insured, but renters may not have had rental insurance, Fire Chief Shawn Howard said.

Howard said the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen.

“When the crews got here, there was heavy fire, flames, on the first floor, and heavy smoke coming out of the eves,” Howard said at the scene. “They knocked the fire down, but it spread very rapidly between the first and second floor. It’s an old building. The fire spread very quickly.”

Howard said the occupants of the first floor got out of the building while fire crews vented the upper story to search for anyone that might still be inside. Everyone had gotten out safely, he said.

“They did rescue two cats who are alive and well at this point,” he said.

Howard said his department called a second alarm for more backup because the fire had spread between the floors. Crews responded from six area towns.

Rick Lyons, one of three owners of the building, said his granddaughter and great-granddaughter lived downstairs where the fire started. He said it appears the fire started in the cooking stove in the kitchen.

“It’s gone, it’s totaled,” Lyons said. “We did lose a turtle, though.”

Howard said the fire appears to have been accidental, so there may not be a need for additional investigation from the Office of the State Fire Marshal. A representative from the American Red Cross was also at the scene to assist residents to find a place to stay for the night.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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