The power outage that inconvenienced so many Lowcountry residents last week cost one family everything they had.

A fire gutted a four-bedroom brick house at 123 Forest Circle in Summerville early Thursday morning while the residents were staying in a motel after losing electricity. Utility crews were restoring power throughout the neighborhood at the time, although what caused the fire has not been determined, Old Fort Fire Chief Ed Genthert said Tuesday.

There is no indication the occupants left anything on that might have started the fire when they left, Genthert said.

"We are not sure if this (restoring the electricity) actually contributed to the fire," Genthert said. "We will continue to investigate."

The family was renting the house and had no insurance on their possessions, Genthert said.

Flames burned gaping holes in the front walls and roof and completely charred everything inside. A cat that was left at home died in the blaze, Genthert said.

There was little firefighters could do to save anything when they got to the house a little after midnight.

"You could see the orange glow in the sky a mile and a half away," Genthert said. "Flames were shooting 70 feet in the air."

The family was reached through a neighbor and declined a request to talk about what they might need.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.