MONTAGUE >> A fire has heavily damaged a western Massachusetts apartment house and displaced seven people.

The fire started shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday in the kitchen of the Montague home.

About 70 firefighters from 17 fire departments battled the blaze. Trucks had to shuttle water from a hydrant about a quarter mile away due to a lack of hydrants in the area. The scene was cleared at around 11:45 a.m.

Officials say a dog perished in the fire but seven residents and a guest escaped. The American Red Cross was at the scene to help them.

Authorities suspect that grease was the cause of the flames. A trooper with the state Fire Marshal's office is investigating.