FREEPORT, Maine (NECN) -- A Freeport neighborhood is coming together to help two next door neighbors who lost everything when their homes caught fire in two separate fires within 24 hours.
Bob Argraves spent Monday morning looking at what was left of 3 Ware Road, the modular home he shared with his wife and two children. He said he had already left for work when he received a frantic call from his wife at 6:30 A.M. "The fire alarms went off. She grabbed the kids, then she went back to get the dogs, but there was just too much smoke," said Argraves.
Their two dogs, Roxy and Zeus, both perished along with the family's cat.
And while the walls were still standing on Monday, everything inside the home they rented was destroyed. It was the second time in less than 24 hours, Freeport firefighters had been called to the neighborhood..
On Sunday afternoon they doused a blaze right next door at 5 Ware Road. "The fire totally destroyed that property," said Chief Darrel Fournier, Freeport Fire Department. Fournier said the first fire started when one of the 2 occupants, a father and son, accidentally left food unattended on the stove.
Because of the strange timing and proximity of the two fires, the State Fire Marshal's Office was called in to investigate. "Anytime you have back to back fires next door to each other, local departments get nervous and want to make sure everything is documented because of the suspicious circumstances around it, said Chris Stanford, Fire Investigator.
Stanford concluded that the burn pattern in the 2nd kitchen fire clearly showed where a grease fire took off after a knob was accidentally turned on.
Neighbors said they were relieved there wasn't an arsonist on the loose, but deeply concerned for both families who have no insurance. "The neighbors are all upset," said Christina Rice who lives across the street. "We're organizing a bean supper to help raise money."
The Red Cross was also on hand following both fires to assist with immediate needs like lodging and clothes.
Despite the devastation in front of him, Argraves said he was trying to remain positive. "We both work hard. We'll bounce back," he said. Especially with the support of neighbors who understand what it means to be a neighborhood.
The Bean Supper will take place at the Masonic Lodge on Mallett Road in Freeport on February 1st from 4-8pm.
The neighborhood is also in the process of setting up a bank account to accept cash donations on the families' behalf.