Fire consumes Wellesley home

Samantha Fields

A Hastings Street home is uninhabitable after a late-morning blaze that firefighters believe started in the kitchen.

Firefighters from Wellesley, Newton, Needham, Natick, Weston and Dover all responded to 23 Hastings Street for the fire, which they had under control within 15 to 20 minutes. The owner, identified as Sharon Whitmore, was not home at the time, but her dog was found in the basement, having succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Deputy Fire Chief Rick DeLorie said the fire appeared to have started on an electric stovetop, and had burned through the floor and spread through the house by the time firefighters arrived. They had to cut a hole in the roof and break windows throughout the house to vent the fire.

Even after the blaze had been contained, smoke could be seen pouring out of the chimney and the windows; children at Fiske were kept inside for recess because of smoke from the house, which sits only hundreds of feet from the school.

There was extensive fire, smoke and heat damage to the entire house, which DeLorie called “uninhabitable at this point.”

The Wellesley Fire Department, along with Wellesley Police and the fire marshal's office are investigating.

It is unclear at this point exactly when the blaze began, though neighbor Pauline Young, of 19 Hastings Street, said she first smelled what she thought was a wood stove burning around 10 a.m. “You smell wood burning and you thought someone had started a wood fire,” she said. She didn’t see any flames or smoke, and did not realize the house, which sits only feet from her own, was on fire until she saw the engines flying in.

“It probably burned for an hour with nobody knowing it because all the windows were closed down tight,” she said.

Wellesley Townsman