Overheated clothing in a dryer is believed to have caused a fire that damaged a former sea captain’s home in Thomaston on Sunday night.

Thomaston Fire Chief Mike Leo said it is not the first time that he has seen clothing catch fire after rubbing against a dryer’s heating element. In this case, the fire spread into a second-floor room and started toward the attic before firefighters were able to knock it down.

Leo said the family that lives at 92 Gleason St. reported that a fire had broken out in their three-story home around 8:17 p.m. The occupants were able to flee to safety.

Leo said there was extensive fire damage to the laundry room and smoke throughout the home. The family will stay with friends Sunday night, but should be able to return Monday.

Firefighters from Rockland and South Thomaston assisted Thomaston.