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South Boston home gutted by fire (UPDATED)

South Boston News
The fire on North Main Street in South Boston. / January 01, 2018
South Boston, Halifax and Cluster Springs firefighters were called out mid-afternoon on Monday to extinguish a fire that gutted the rear of a North Main Street home in South Boston.

The brick dwelling at the corner of North Main and Irish Street, home to Ben Capozzi and Elyse Ward, sustained damages of around $50,000, said South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips. The kitchen and back porch area were gutted by flames, and other parts of the home suffered extensive smoke and heat damage.

"It's probably going to be more than $50,000," said Phillips of the damage toll.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 3:19 p.m. on Monday, New Year's Day, and got the visible flames quickly under control. They finished work around 6 p.m. after conducting checks of the two-story brick home to make sure fire wasn't smoldering in unseen areas. Phillips said it was a good thing that the fire didn't reach into the attic above the second floor, because "if it had, it would have been a whole different fire."

Capozzi and Ward were away from home when they learned that an alarm had gone off, information that came via a text message sent from their home security system, said Phillips. The married couple rushed back home and were able to rescue two of their three dogs inside. Firefighters rescued the couple's third dog on the second floor.

Phillips said the fire appears to have started in the kitchen and spread to the back porch, not quite reaching the second floor. Firefighters "found one little spot where the fire came through" upstairs but arrived quickly enough to contain it.

"Most of the real heavy fire was in the kitchen area, so we're pretty confident that something in the kitchen is how the fire started. I don't know exactly what at this time," said Phillips.

The South Boston fire department had three trucks and 11 firefighters at the scene; Halifax sent three trucks and eight people; and Cluster Springs had two trucks and six people working on the fire. Dominion Power also sent a crew to cut power to the home.

"I've got a lot of praise for the fire departments that were there and for the firefighters because of the conditions," said Phillips, referring to the cold temperatures throughout the day and early evening.

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