The Ribeiro family of Milford, whose house was destroyed in an overnight blaze last weekend, is devastated by the loss, family members said Wednesday.
The family includes four children, ages 8 to 16, and parents Daniel and Lucia Ribeiro. In a telephone interview, Lucia Ribeiro said they would stay with relatives for the time being.
"I have nothing left," she said. "We have nothing. I have to start over again."
They are in Florida this week, on a pre-arranged trip, but will return to Milford by Monday, Lucia Ribeiro said.
The children will return to school, which reopens Monday following the February break. They are upset at the loss of their home, and at the loss of two pets — a cat and a parrot — in the fire, Ribeiro said.
"They are crying, not sleeping well," she said. "It's been tough."
An investigation into the fire by the state Fire Marshal's office, and the Milford police and fire departments concluded Thursday with a determination that the fire was accidental in nature. The cause of the fire could not be determined, however, because of the structure collapse, a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal's office said.
Investigators were able to determine the fire started in the kitchen.
The family received $900 in emergency assistance from the American Red Cross, and will use the money for some clothing and food, Lucia Ribeiro said.
The Ribeiros purchased their wood-frame, single-family home in 2003, according to the Milford property records database. The two-story house was built in 1890.
The family also owns a business in town, the Central Market convenience store, at 186 Central St. A nephew, Lincoln Silveira, 14, was minding the counter for them this week. He said he was on the ski trip with his uncle when the family members learned the house had been destroyed by fire. The children had two to three changes of clothing with them on the trip, he said.
By the time the family arrived home, to Domenick Street, the house had collapsed.
Beatriz Ribeiro, an aunt, said her brother was in shock at the loss of his house. He kept saying, "Are you kidding? Are you kidding?" she said, of the scene.