On May 22 at approximately 9:30 p.m., firefighters in North Haverhill, N.H. were toned to a home with an electrical problem in the ceiling and smoke in the building.
On the first alarm, three departments were summoned: North Haverhill, Haverhill Corner and Woodsville. The first North Haverhill unit on the scene reported heavy fire in an ell attached to the main home which was an antique two-story cape.
Because of the location of the home about a mile down a dirt road, off the main paved road with no water source, additional tankers were summoned. Additional units came in from Bath and Piermont, N.H. as well as from Newbury and West Newbury in Vermont.
An interior attack was mounted to keep the progressing fire out of the main house, although it had already started to impinge on a kitchen area addition on the “D-side” of the main structure.
Because of excessive rain and flooding in the area, a seasonal brook at the intersection of the main road and the dirt road provided an excellent source of water to refill the tankers, which then shuttled to folding tanks and a supply engine that sent water up to the scene.
North Haverhill’s engine, which was the attack engine, is equipped with a compressed air foam system which was used during parts of the fire, especially during overhaul.
Firefighters stayed on the scene for about four hours making sure there were no hot spots and returned in the morning to do some additional overhaul.
Officers on the scene, in talking with the homeowner and doing some investigation, determined the fire was caused by faulty wiring in a summer kitchen/shed area on the d-side of the building. The owner said he turned on a light in that area of the building and heard snapping and popping and immediately shut the switch off. He went back later to put the circuit out of service with a sign and spotted smoke and flames in the ceiling area. That’s when he called 911.
No injuries were reported and fire officers said it was a good stop with the main part of the home standing with minimal fire and smoke damage. The 200 year-old home was spared, but the insurance company determined the next day that the building was a total loss, and the building is set to be razed.
At the height of the fire approximately 50 firefighters worked at the scene or in support of operations. There were three engines, eight tankers and a unit from Woodsville Ambulance Service that checked out firefighters and provided rehabilitation services.