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Family: ‘A Nice House, But It Was a Material Thing’

(NECN: Eileen Curran, Norwell, Mass.) - A Norwell, Massachusetts family returned home Monday to find their house burned to the ground in a fast moving fire, but they are grateful it wasn’t a whole lot worse.

“Right there is where Ronan sleeps,” said Jim Schipani as he looked at what was left of his seven-year-old son Ronan’s bedroom. It’s now nothing but a black charred hole.

“There’s nothing left of the house, it’s gone.”

Schipani and his wife Erin got their first look at what was left of the beautiful three-story house they’ve lived in for four years.

On Sunday, the Schipani’s had a big Christmas celebration in their home, then packed up their three children and headed to Vermont for a ski vacation.

About 4 a.m. Monday, neighbors noticed the fire and called 911.

Fire Chief Andy Reardon said the blaze had too much of a head start.

“The first unit on scene reported we had heavy fire in the garage area,” said Chief Reardon. “Shortly after their arrival, the garage collapsed. Clearly the fire had been burning for quite some time.”

As investigators sift through the smoldering debris looking for the cause, Schipani sheds tears, not over what he lost, but for all he was able to keep.

”I’m not sad,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s a material thing. It was a nice house, but it’s a material thing. We can rebuild it and it could have had a lot worse ending,” he said.

“It puts a lot into perspective. You realize, especially at this time of year really what is important.”

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