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Another early morning fire hits Somerville homes

Posted by Jarret Bencks  August 13, 2013 09:48 AM

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Jarret Bencks

Firefighters outside of 19 and 17 Banks St. on Tuesday morning, the site of the most recent early morning fire in Somerville.

Somerville residents early Tuesday morning were once again awakened by the screaming sound of fire engine sirens.

A fire that started on the first floor of 19 Banks St. about 5 a.m. spread into neighboring 17 Banks St., causing significant damage to both two-family homes, fire officials said.

It was the seventh time since July 12 that Somerville firefighters responded to an early morning fire. One of the previous fires has been ruled accidental, but the other five are considered suspicious and remain under investigation.

Fire inspectors were close to determining a cause for Tuesday's fire, and had ruled out arson, District Fire Chief Frank Lee said. A total of eight people were inside the homes, and all were able to get out unharmed, Lee said.

The fire spread through a window at 19 Bank St., into three cars parked in a driveway tightly fit between the two homes that caught fire. It traveled through all three floors, and fire crews were still putting out hotspots on the third floor as of about 9:30 a.m.

"It's starting to wind down," Lee said.

Lee estimated 19 Banks St. sustained about $300,000 in damages, and damages at 17 Banks St. were estimated at over $500,000.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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