A barn was destroyed by a fire next to a home on High Street in Spofford, N.H. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
A barn was destroyed by a fire next to a home on High Street in Spofford, N.H. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Friday February 1, 2013

SPOFFORD, N.H. -- Fire Chief Gordon Rudolph said heavy rain helped subdue a two-alarm fire that destroyed a Jeep and a wood barn on High Street Thursday morning.

Though there were no injuries, charred remains were all that was left of the structure and the vehicle at 38 High St. by the time firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Rudolph said he got the call at 1:38 a.m. and was the first one on the scene. He rang the second alarm due to the fire's close proximity to two other buildings, which brought the fire departments of Westmoreland, Swanzey, Keene and Hinsdale as well as Brattleboro, Vt., to the site. The Putney, Vt., Fire Department covered the Spofford fire station and some firefighters from Hinsdale went to Brattleboro.

Rudolph said the fire was declared under control by 4:30 a.m. and the scent of burnt wood had evaporated by Thursday afternoon.

He said the 30 to 35 firefighters at the scene handled the situation perfectly.

"It was amazing. It was like clockwork," he said. "Everybody knew what they had to do."

Rudolph said he is of an old-fashioned mindset and declared a second-alarm because he would rather assistance be present or on its way and not need it than fail to have enough help at the scene.

The fire chief said he was most concerned about protecting the two vulnerable houses that were within 20 feet of the blaze. He said flames spread to the yellow house to the south of the barn but firefighters were able to put them out before much damage was done.


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He said the yellow house has a char mark on it and both houses now have paint peeled off and asphalt shingles that started to melt. Rudolph also said all windows on the sides of the building facing the fire were broken.

He said, however, the situation could have been much worse.

"To tell you the truth, we got very, very lucky. I don't know why there were not three structure fires," he told the Reformer. "Thank God it was raining."

Rudolph said the heavy wind "was kind of against us" and blew a lot of smoke and amber at firefighters.

The fire chief estimated about $25,000 to $35,000 in damage but said it could up add quickly. He said the cause of the inferno has been ruled as an electrical issue, as a battery charger was left on the 1999 Jeep Cherokee that was destroyed. A lawnmower and all the tools in the barn are also gone.

The homeowner at 38 High St. was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311. You can follow him @dpoli_reformer.