Fire Chief Says N.H. Police Station Fire Was Accidental

Aug. 1, 2013
A two-alarm fire at the Portsmouth police station started in the firing range and was most likely accidental according to the fire chief.

Aug. 01--PORTSMOUTH -- The two-alarm fire that struck the firing range in the basement of the Portsmouth police station Tuesday evening is requiring a massive cleanup effort, according to Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonald.

The fire is believed to have originated in the firing range, but the cause of the blaze is unknown. MacDonald said there's no reason to believe it was malicious and Fire Chief Steven Achilles said he doesn't believe it was anything but accidental in nature.

The range suffered significant damage and MacDonald said he did not believe it would be usable anytime in the near future.

"The cleanup effort it just massive. That's going to take probably a couple weeks," he said, adding that he estimated about 30 individuals helped with the effort on Wednesday.

The locker room for officers is located next to the range and MacDonald said uniforms that were stored there when the fire broke out will have to be professionally cleaned. He said, as a result, many officers were in plainclothes Wednesday.

While no one was in the range when the fire broke out, MacDonald said it had been used earlier in the day. He said it was not odd that anyone would be in there as officers are encouraged to use it.

The fire was reported at about 7:48 p.m. Tuesday and rose to a second alarm with numerous departments called for mutual aid and station coverage.

Individuals working in the dispatch center located on the first floor evacuated the building without injury and were relocated to the redundant center on Peverly Hill Road. Operations were not interrupted despite the fire.

MacDonald said he did not have an idea of damage costs but that insurance adjusters would determine the estimate.

"It's just a giant project right in the middle of our busiest season," he said.

Copyright 2013 - Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.

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