AYER -- A five-alarm fire on East Main Street that left several people without a home Sunday afternoon was started by careless disposal of smoking materials.

The multi-family structure at 10 E. Main St. was home to seven apartments and 12 residents, who were all able to escape the burning structure without injuries, according to Ayer Fire Capt. Sean Farley.

Several cats that also lived inside the structure were rescued by residents and Ayer firefighters, including one firefighter who successfully coaxed a feline off the roof during the blaze. According to Farley, one cat was killed in the fire.

The blaze was reported to emergency crews at around 2:15 p.m. Firefighters were still on scene shortly after 7 p.m.

SUN/JEFF PORTER
SUN/JEFF PORTER

The home is a total loss, Farley said. American Red Cross personnel were on hand to offer assistance to the families.

Farley noted the residents were visibly distraught.

"They've pretty much just lost everything," he said.

Farley added the home next door to the burning structure at 12 E. Main St. suffered minor damage to the siding and the roofing.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis


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