NEW BEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - The New Bedford Fire Investigation Bureau is investigating after the roof of a home collapsed from a heavy fire Wednesday night.

New Bedford Fire said crews responded to a reported structure on fire at 296 Hemlock St. in New Bedford at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Crews reported heavy fire on the second floor of a two-and-a-half story home that neighbors reported as vacant. The crew then entered through the side door and encountered heavy fire in the stairwell. An additional crew conducted a search of the first floor while another dealt with impeded access to the second floor via the front stairway to attempt a search.

New Bedford Fire Deputy Chief Brian Dedeiros said crews couldn’t make it to the top floor because the stairs were filled with debris and crews were evacuated as the fire quickly broke through the roof.

“We’re unsure if there was furniture or anything up there or storage but the stairwell was cluttered so they couldn’t get all the way up,” said Dedeiros. “Boxes and items stored on the stairwell going up to the second floor indicating nobody has lived up there for some time.”

Officials said the roof then partially collapsed, “making it extremely difficult to get at pockets of fire hidden by the newly created void spaces.”

Crews remained on the scene for over two hours locating hot spots to fully extinguish the fire.

No one was hurt and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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