DANIEL TEPFER

BRIDGEPORT — A candle apparently sparked a blaze that nearly destroyed an East Side apartment house late Monday, leaving four people homeless.

Firefighters were back at the Eagle Street scene Tuesday morning hosing down hot spots left in the structure by the blaze.

The fire erupted in the three-story building just before midnight.

Assistant Chief Ismael Pomales said when firefighters arrived, flames were shooting from the second-floor windows.

Two elderly, disabled adults and their daughter who lived on the first floor and a man who lived on the third floor managed to get out safely.

All four were relocated to temporary accommodations by the disaster-relief team from the Southeastern Fairfield County chapter of the American Red Cross.

Pomales said the fire started in a second-floor bedroom area. "At this point, it appears a candle started it, but it is still under investigation," Pomales said.

He said the fire burned the roof off the building and caused heavy damage to the third and second floors. Firefighters battled to keep the flames from spreading to a house next door.

The fire was brought under control in less than an hour, he said.

Providing emergency help for the victims of the fire further stretched the already depleted resources the Red Cross chapter has on hand, after sending help to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, Red Cross officials said.