By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SALEM — Fire officials say the three-alarm blaze that ravaged a Salem Willows house on Thursday morning was ignited accidentally by an electrical problem in the home’s basement.
Lt. Tim Flynn said an investigation had determined that the blaze at 1 Beach Ave. had likely begun near the floor of the basement, where a light had been plugged into an extension cord and draped over a wire. It was unclear if that light was turned on at the time.
“There was nothing else in the area that could have caused the fire, there were no other outlets, nothing that was plugged in ... that is the most probable cause of the fire,” Flynn said.
Fire Lt. Mike Leonard and Salem police detectives also helped investigate the blaze, which broke out around 8:30 a.m. and heavily damaged the seaside structure’s basement and first floor.
With aid coming in from Marblehead, Swampscott, Beverly and Lynn, firefighters were able to get the fire under control by roughly 10 a.m., though crews were on scene for at least another hour extinguishing hot spots. The fire did not extend to any additional buildings.
There were no injuries; six people were able to flee the building after one of them noticed smoke. Two dogs also emerged unscathed.