A bride's family takes issue with what investigators said caused a fire that destroyed a popular Foxborough wedding venue.
A huge fire engulfed the Lakeview Pavilion Saturday night while a wedding was taking place thanks to a discarded cigarette.
Investigators said the cigarette was flicked into mulch next to the building, sparking the blaze, but relatives of the bride said authorities jumped to conclusions, and they have pictures to prove it.
"This was her dream wedding. She’s been planning this for a long time. For it to go up in smoke and then to blame pretty much her and her family that’s a slap in the face, you know? The wall was glowing inside, the vinyl siding was fine, you could just see a red glow,” Jamie Levesque, the bride's brother, said.
Fire officials responded to the Lakeview Pavilion just after 7:00 p.m.
"I was marrying a lovely young couple," Jerry Cibley, who was officiating the wedding, said. "I had just pronounced them husband and wife, everybody clapped, they walked down the center of the aisle, the groomsman and the bridesmaids followed and all of a sudden I looked up and couple of people thought we saw smoke."
Those who were inside the building at the time of the fire said everyone made it out okay.
“Smoke was coming in from the side, everybody thought it was incense or candle smoke during the ceremony,” Joann Harkin, the bride's mother, said.
Levesque said the pictures show what he saw when firefighters arrived. Smoke coming from inside. No fire from the mulch and the only flame coming from inside, halfway up the wall.
“The wall was glowing inside. The vinyl siding was fine,” Levesque said.
Authorities now say they don't think the fire started in the mulch but they're sticking with a discarded cigarette outside the wedding hall as the cause. They said they're willing to take a look at pictures that could give a new look into what happened.
The bride and groom were able to salvage some of their wedding at a nearby hotel, where another couple that was getting married shared cake.
Construction to rebuild the venue could take months, if not years to complete. The Lakeview owner said they will do anything they can to help relocate couples that were planning on getting wed there.
"I'm heartbroken for them. We'll make sure that their wedding of their dreams come true...We'll do anything to help them," Lakeview owner Natalia Kapourelakos said.
About 200 couples planned on getting married at the popular Lakeview Pavilion through the fall.