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NORTH WALPOLE, N.H. — State fire investigators are searching for the cause of an early morning fire that killed one person and sent a second to the hospital.

North Walpole Fire Chief William Crawford told the Reformer the call for a possible structure fire came in Monday at 3:17 a.m.

"When we got here, we had light smoke showing from the roadside," he said at the scene. "People out here had confirmed that there might be somebody inside. Attack crews went in, knocked the fire down pretty quickly and we did come across a body. At this time, we are looking at a fatal fire."

According to a press release from Crawford, N.H. State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan and Walpole Police Chief Michael Paquette, emergency responders were called to 8 East Street at 3:16 a.m. Monday morning.

The investigation by the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's Office, Walpole Police Department and North Walpole Fire Department into the fire is still ongoing. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday by the Office of the N.H. Medical Examiner.

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The press release noted that working smoke alarms save lives and urged people to have an escape plan from their homes in case of a fire. "When a fire is detected by smoke alarms, occupants only have minutes to escape before being overcome by the effects of smoke," noted the press release.

Crawford said the fire was upgraded to a second alarm before any trucks arrived on scene due to a report that someone could be inside.

Crews assisted from North Walpole, Walpole and Charlestown in New Hampshire, and Westminster and Bellows Falls in Vermont. Red Cross also helped.

"The cause is under investigation," Crawford said at the scene. "We probably won't know for some time. We have several investigators here doing their job, trying to piece everything together."