LEE — An alert neighbor and a quick-acting homeowner minimized damage from a house fire caused by smoldering ashes late Sunday afternoon.

Around 3:30 p.m., a neighbor of Michael Baccoli at 10 Paul Dr. called 911 to report his open front porch was on fire. When Lee firefighters arrived they found Baccoli and another neighbor had knocked most of the flames with a garden hose.

"I was really lucky. The fire was starting to spread along the roof," Baccoli told The Eagle.

Firefighters managed to quickly douse what was left of the fire, confining it to the porch. Baccoli says some smoke got into the house, but no flames.

Lee Fire Chief Ryan Brown ruled the fire accidental. Baccoli said supposedly cold ashes from his fireplace he had placed in a trash receptacle on the porch early Sunday morning apparently had been smoldering. They ignited into a fire that scorched the exterior portion of the home.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com