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ROCKINGHAM — A fire Tuesday afternoon resulted in heavy damage to a chalet-style home at 122 Parker Hill Road.

No one was hurt during the fire, according to Rockingham Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Kingsbury.

The fire sent giant clouds of grey smoke into the air, and once the flames were extinguished, it revealed heavy damage on the first and second floors, including a large second-story deck.

Kingsbury said the house is uninhabitable due to the fire damage, but he said he believed that it could be repaired.

The chief said he asked for the Vermont fire marshal’s office to investigate the fire, since the department’s initial investigation didn’t determine a cause of the fire.

The home is owned by Veniamin “Ben” and Rimma Shukhman of Emerson, N.J., who purchased the house in 2018, according to Rockingham town land records. The house was sold for $289,000 in 2018.

It is the third major fire on Parker Hill Road, a section of rural Rockingham, since this past spring. The first fire which destroyed a home was accidental, due to a gas grill fire that spread, and the second, in August, was a suicide-arson of a large barn.

“I don’t believe it was the wood stove,” Kingsbury said of Tuesday’s fire, noting the homeowner said he didn’t have a fire going at the time the blaze broke out.

He said the fire appeared to have started in the front corner of the house, either on the outside or on the deck, which was covered with a large green awning.

Kingsbury said that area fire departments responded to the scene, which is within sight of Route 103. He said he asked for Westminster Fire Department to bring in its platform truck so that it could reach the roof of the house, which has large windows facing west. He said because the house is elevated and built on a rise, it was too difficult to reach the roof with traditional ladders.

The house isn’t clearly visible from Parker Hill Road, and its long driveway cuts through large hayfields.

Fire departments from Springfield, Bellows Falls, Saxtons River, Chester, Westminster, as well as Walpole and Charlestown, N.H., aided at the scene, setting up a cascade unit to supply water to the firefighters. Golden Cross Ambulance was also on the scene.

Rimma Shukhman declined to comment at the scene.

Contact Susan Smallheer

at ssmallheer@reformer.com.


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