ATTLEBORO — Investigators are focusing on a car in the garage of a South Attleboro townhouse condominium where a fire gutted the dwelling Thursday and damaged the other half of the duplex.
Deputy Fire Chief Tim Birch and Detective Ayman Kafel said Friday that the 2011 Nissan Altima parked in the garage at 81 Leedham St. could have been the cause of the blaze.
Birch said car fire experts are being called in to examine the Nissan and its wiring.
“We’re looking at it as a possibility,” Birch said outside the fire scene on Friday.
In addition, fire officials are taking samples from the garage of the two-story townhouse, where investigators determined the fire originated. Hopefully, they will provide clues, Birch said.
The investigators said the probe could take up to two weeks before an exact cause is determined.
The damage to the burned-out townhouse was estimated at around $300,000. The other half sustained smoke and water damage, but Perkins said an estimate has not yet been determined.
No one was injured in the spectacular blaze that had flames shooting out of the windows at the rear of the townhouse and rising above the height of the dwelling.
It took firefighters from Attleboro and Pawtucket about an hour to put down the blaze. Mutual aid was summoned from Seekonk and Norton for station coverage.
No one was home at either townhouse at the time the fire broke out around 5 p.m. The couple who lives at 83 Leedham will now be staying with their children, investigators said.
The man renting 81 Leedham has not been home for about a week, a neighbor and investigators said.
Neighbors reported hearing explosions, which Birch said could have been the tires of the vehicle. A gas cartridge for a paint gun was also found inside the townhouse, he said.
The duplex is one of three built in the past two years in an otherwise older neighborhood.
Leedham Street is off Brown Street, near the Cumberland line.