Crews tend to the blaze Friday on Hanover Street that destroyed a home and killed five animals on Friday night. Photo submitted by Ted and Brenda Gilliam

SKOWHEGAN — The mother of the family that lost its home to a fire over the weekend said that they are coping with the loss of their five pets.

Tabatha Steward said that she and her family, which includes longtime boyfriend Michael and her three children, Nakoba, 19; Serena, 17; and Lakarria, 16, had lived at the home for eight years. Only her son Nakoba was home when she got the news that something was going on at her home on Friday evening.

“We’re doing rough,” Steward said. “We’re just trying to take it day by day.”

When she heard about the fire at the house, she said she was at work and received a message that something was going on. She then picked up her boyfriend and rushed over to the house to find her son running outside of the home. Her other two children were not home.

“When we got to the house, we saw the smoke and my son was running outside with neighbors,” Steward said.

She added that they attempted to open the windows to help the animals get out, but the house was fully engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire has been deemed accidental.

Firefighters were dispatched to the mobile home at 19 Hanover St. at 5:19 on Friday. When they arrived, the double-wide home was engulfed in flames.

Skowhegan Fire Capt. Jason Frost said over the weekend that the occupant in the house was taking a shower and escaped out of the bathroom window after noticing smoke in the hallway. Though the structure is still standing, Frost said, it’s a total loss.

Steward said that she has renters insurance and the property itself is insured by her landlord, but they are devastated by the loss of their pets — dogs Lady and Diamond and cats Milo, Chloe and Jax.

“We think they were scared,” Steward said. “(The kids) are taking it hard because of the animals. Everything else can be replaced. (Nakoba) is taking it hard because he was home.

For now, Steward said that she and her boyfriend are staying at the Town Motel while her children are with family members, adding that her family has lived in the area for a long time.

She said that others near the mobile home came to check to see what they needed as firefighters worked to put out the blaze.

“We don’t know (what’s next),” Steward said. “We’re waiting on insurance.”

Several friends and community members have launched GoFundMe campaigns to benefit the family and help them get back on their feet, she said. Community members have also been working to organize a fundraiser to benefit the family.

“We want to thank people so much, but can’t thank everyone enough for what they are trying to do to help us,” Steward said.

Crews from Athens, Madison, Canaan, Fairfield and Norridgewock assisted Skowhegan at the scene.

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