Swampscott firefighters and other crews entered a burning two-floor home in Nahant Tuesday afternoon, battling a blaze that had gained a foothold.
Nahant Fire Chief Edward Hyde pulled back crews 10 minutes into the firefighting as flames roared upward weakening the roof at the waterfront home.
Crews went into a defensive mode pounding the exterior with water.
Firefighters were dispatched to 37 1/2 Castle Road about 2:30 p.m. Upon arrival the fire chief saw flames pushing from the side and sweeping upward.
No one was home but a workman was on site, the fire chief said.
By 4 p.m. portions of the pitched roof were consumed, the remainder charred including exposed studs at the gable end facing the road.
The blaze went to two alarms bringing help from Swampscott, Marblehead and Lynn, said Chief Hyde, who was grateful for their assistance.
The blaze is under investigation, he said. No injuries were reported.
At 2:30 p.m. in Swampscott beachside onlookers peering south saw smoke billowing in the distance short of the Boston skyline.
Among them was Swampscott Fire Chief Kevin Breen, inspecting a Humphrey Street building.
The chief responded to the scene, conferring with Nahant's chief as firefighters chased any remaining embers.
Nahant has been busy fighting fires the past six weeks or so.
So has a particular Swampscott fire crew.
Capt. John Quinn's Div. 3 crew provided mutual aid the last three fires in Nahant.