Outbuilding catches fire in North Walpole

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Photo Gallery | Fire in North Walpole

WALPOLE, N.H. — Emergency crews from several units responded to a fire in an outbuilding at 11 Merchant Street in North Walpole around 2:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

The fire was outside of the house in North Walpole, and witnesses from Bellows Falls and in the neighborhood reported that they saw a stream of smoke in the air.

"When I pulled-up there was heavy involvement. There were tires blowing-up, there was a report of three propane tanks that had ignited, and a fully involved tractor, chicken pen and canoe rack as well," said Chief William Crawford of the North Walpole Fire Department who was first emergency personnel to arrive at the scene.

"I believe at this time it is not under suspicion, and I believe it was a heating lamp that was out in the chicken pen. I don't know if it had shorted or if the lamp had fallen down, I'm not exactly sure, but I have a pretty good point of origin," said Crawford.

According to Crawford the following units responded to the fire: North Walpole, Walpole, Bellows Falls and Walpole Police Department. Golden Cross Ambulance Inc, and Westminster and Langdon fire units were on standby. Crawford estimates that it took about 15-20 minutes to knock down the fire, or reduce the flame or heat on the more vigorously burning parts of a fire edge.

"I got a phone call and someone said the house exploded,"said Drew Steele, 50, homeowner of 11 Merchant Street. Steele was at work at the time of the fire and his two children were on their way home from school. "I came home and it was over before I got here. There wasn't even any smoke, I was surprised, but evidently they said the flames were pretty high."

Steele said he has lived at 11 Merchant Street for about 10 years and has never had any previous fire mishaps at his home.

"I'm thrilled to death that they were able to get it before it got worse, and at least we have a home for the winter," said Steele. "It could have been a lot worse."

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275.


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