fire

Fire shoots out the back of this house at 295 School St. on Monday. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze after about three hours. (BERLIN FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO)

BERLIN — A fire that started in the back of a house on 295 School St. severely damaged the building, displacing the family that was living there.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire was determined to be accidental.

According to Berlin Fire Chief James Watkins, the fire was reported at 6:31 p.m. Monday evening. The on-duty captain arrived to find the 2 1/2-story, single-family wood frame dwelling ablaze, with flames shooting out of the back of the building.

A general alarm was requested, and Engine 2 responded with off-duty personnel. The Gorham Fire Department also responded to the call.

Engine 1’s crew used hoses on both sides of the house to quickly knock down the fire and protect the structures on both sides.

Damage to neighboring homes was superficial, the chief said.

Once the bulk of the fire was out on the exterior of the home, the crew made entry into the structure to attempt to extinguish the fire on the interior.

Due to mechanical issues with Engine 1, crews were pulled from inside the structure.

Engine 1 was removed as the pumper and hose lines were moved to Engine 2.

Once lines were changed, crews entered the third-floor attic area to extinguish the flames.

Due to limited visibility and a lot of items in the attic, the fire was difficult to locate. Once crews were able to move items and locate the fire, it was extinguished.

The New Hampshire Fire Marshal's office, along with Berlin Fire and the Berlin Police Department, investigated the blaze and determined it to be accidental. The fire was brought under control at 9:47 p.m., and all units were back in service by 11:37 p.m.

Due to the damage, fire officials could not determine whether there were smoke detectors in the building.

No details were available at press time about how many people live in the house.

Anyone wishing to donate to the displaced occupants should contact Harvest Christian Fellowship at (603) 752-5374 and ask for Julie prior to dropping off donated items.

Fire officials also ask the public to use alternate routes when driving near a working fire.

A driver Monday drove over a 4-inch pressurized supply line from a hydrant. Had the line ruptured, water to the hoses and crews would have been disrupted.

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