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Four, Including Dog, Unharmed in House Fire

Multiple fire departments responded to a house fire late Tuesday afternoon on St. James Drive.

Three are displaced after a substantial fire caused smoke damage to a home on St. James Drive on Tuesday afternoon.

Northborough, Marlborough and Westborough fire departments responded to an alarm at 4:07 p.m. after a call from a homeowner who smelled and saw smoke in the home at 33 St. James Drive.

Nancy Haynes, the cousin of the owners of the home, stays in an inlaw apartment on the bottom floor of the home. At 3:30 p.m, Haynes sad she came home and ten minutes later "thought I smelled smoke." Coming upstairs to the first floor, Haynes saw thick smoke and called 911.

"I smelled a burning that was like rubber or plastic," said Haynes. "The recessed lights in the kitchen also flickered. I thought we were losing electricity for a minute."

The owners, Sue and Richard Starzyk were not home at the time.

Richard, who left to pick his wife up from work, arrived home to find smoke billowing from the home, and fire trucks lining the street.

A dog, Tessie, was in the home in a dog crate in the dining room at the time of the fire. Firefighters pulled the puggle to safety.

"It's a nightmare," said Sue. "I keep thinking I'm going to wake up. All I could think about was the dog.

Sue said the dog, who is her son's, was staying at the home until tomorrow.

"There is substantial damage," said Fire Chief David Durgin. "The home is uninhabitable. When we responded, there was thick black smoke coming from the attic vent."

Durgin said the fire was under control within 15 minutes. The cause is under investigation, but said that the fire and smoke had gone up the stairway to the attic.

"We rescued the dog from the second floor," said Durgin. "It's terrible. The holidays are coming up, and clearly they won't be living here for a while.

Durgin added that through a program with the local Marriot, fire victims are given a voucher to stay at the hotel for free for one night.

The animal control officer was on his way, and the dog would be brought to a local vet for examination.

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