By Samantha Allen

sallen@lowellsun.com

LOWELL -- Just a few days after Thanksgiving, police and fire departments responded to a house fire Sunday morning which claimed the life of a family cat and was sparked by a forgotten burning candle.

Lowell Deputy Fire Chief Robert Flynn was on scene for a few hours with his crews working to put out the flames at a duplex home at 37 and 39 Delmont Avenue. He estimated there was about $20,000 worth of damage and both sides of the structure would be uninhabitable for the time being.

The fire reportedly started on the first floor of the 37 Delmont Ave. household and spread through out the rest of the lower-level of the home. A neighbor called the department to report the fire when he saw flames and smoke billowing out of the house around 10:50 a.m. One neighbor said he saw black smoke pouring out of the house and at about 11:30 a.m., white smoke was still seen steaming out of the roof of the building.

Flynn initially said he believed the fire to be caused by electrical issues around the living room couch. Later though, he said the 37 Delmont Ave. homeowners' son stated he may have forgotten to blow out a candle in the living room before the family went out for the day. Both units were unoccupied at the time of the incident.

Flynn said the family, with a few children at 37 Delmont, reported they lost their house cat in the fire but no other injuries were reported. He added National Grid was called in to shut off power to the home.

"I did have the utilities shut off the power," Flynn said. "There won't be able to live in there for some time."

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