General Hospital's Kelly Monaco Escapes Massive Fire at Her Home: 'Everyone Is Safe,' Says Mom

·3 min read
44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

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Kelly Monaco's Sherman Oaks, Calif. home was severely damaged in a fire, but the General Hospital star escaped unharmed, PEOPLE confirms.

The blaze broke out on May 13 and was seemingly caused by a cigarette butt improperly disposed of on the empty lot next door to Monaco's property. While she was able to get out of the house safely, the fire overtook the home and destroyed much of it. TMZ first reported the news.

A rep for Monaco had no comment.

Kelly was back on set Thursday, but PEOPLE reached her mother, Carmina Monaco, who recounted her daughter's terrifying experience.

Kelly woke up to hear "what sounded like hail," but was actually "the crackling of the fire," Carmina said of the early morning blaze.

"She immediately picked up the phone to call 911, but the fire department was already there and had been trying to contact her to get through the gate," says Carmina.

Kelly, who had security cameras on her home, gave the footage they captured to investigators. The video showed a person throwing a lit cigarette into a lot next to her house that started a fire "within seconds," Carmina confirms. "You could see all of it happen on Kelly's cameras, including the flick of the cigarette and the spark of the butt."

According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, arson investigators were added to the incident and it is still an open investigation — therefore foul play is still unknown. While it was first reported as a structure fire, the blaze initially started as a vegetation fire, which then spread to Kelly's home, the LAFD tells PEOPLE.

While the incident was scary for the family, Carmina is relieved her daughter got out safely.

"The most important thing that had to get out of that house that night got out of that house that night, and it was her," she says. "Everything else, they're just things; they can be replaced."

"I keep saying, we had a good day on the 13th,' Carmina adds. "Everyone is safe and okay. It could have been a bad day. She could have been hurt." Kelly experienced "just some small irritation in her lungs from the smoke," she says.

As for the overall damage, Carmina notes all of the landscaping and shrubbery are gone, while the "left side of the house is completely charred and destroyed." Since the fire, the actress has been staying in an Airbnb.

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Kelly, who was the first-ever winner of Dancing with the Stars, has played Sam McCall on General Hospital since 2003. For years, her character was part of a super couple with Jason Morgan, who until recently was played by Emmy winner Steve Burton.

Before her breakout role on the long-running soap opera, she also appeared in ABC's Port Charles.

She returned to Dancing with the Stars in 2012 to compete to win another mirror ball trophy. While she did, once again, make it to the final round with partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy, she placed third in the 15th season of the competition show.

Most recently, she rejoined the franchise in 2017 to join in on a trio rumba during one episode of the show's 25th season.

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