UPDATE: 8 p.m.
Yvonne Cheung looked across Clover Street as firefighters strode into what was to become her neighbor's new home.
"This is just devastating," she said as white smoke billowed out of wide holes in the roof.
She and many of her neighbors had the same reaction to the three-alarm fire that destroyed a historic 1897-colonial house at 35 Clover St. that was in the final week of an extensive year-long renovation.
"This was a labor of love for the owners," said Cheung, who lives a few houses away.
The first call came in to Belmont dispatch at approximately 5:15 a.m. when a neighbor and a National Grid employee - who smelled smoke while working on Clover Street – saw the 12-room house, known as the Weeks-Fremming House, located between Clark and Waverley streets, in flames and smoke.
arrived at the scene as flames broke through the windows. A second alarm was called which brought in mutual aid from Cambridge, Watertown and Arlington fire departments.
Assistant Fire Chief Angus Davison said the story was pretty simple: The crews arrived to find the house in smoke and flames. Davison could only speculate but he believed that the fire started either in the basement or the first floor and climbed up the large stairwell which was adjacent to the refurbished bay window looking out onto Clover.
He said the house was a complete loss with structural damage to the entire first floor and the roof compromised.
Davison could not tell what caused the fire, leaving that up to a subsequent investigation by Belmont Fire and Police.
The nearly 5,000 square foot house known for its unique architectural structure and fine turn-of-the-century detail was in the final stages of renovation after the owners bought the house nearly a year ago, according to several people. In the small front yard was a Dumpster and tools. The left side of the house revealed sheet barriers that had not been covered. There was also a sign for Machado's Company, a Burlington-based contractor, on the front lawn.
The owner, George Antoniadis, who was at the scene declined comment.
"They told us that they were moving into the house next weekend," said Cheung.
"What a shame. What a loss," she said.
Yesterday, Thursday, May 31, after three transformers exploded.