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March 29. 2012 12:58AM

Cats saved, Londonderry townhouse damaged by fire


Fire crews from Londonderry and several surrounding towns surveyed the damage following Wednesday evening's fire at a Century Village townhouse. The fire, which is still under investigation, left much of the first floor inhabitable. No one was home when the fire broke out and firefighters were able to rescue the two resident house cats. (APRIL GUILMET)

LONDONDERRY -- The fire that gutted the first floor of a Century Village townhouse may have been caused by a malfunctioning television, officials said.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, a neighbor called the Londonderry Fire Department after seeing flames through the window at 20 Winding Pond Road.

One hour later, the flames were extinguished but the damage was done: local fire officials said the townhouse sustained severe fire damage to the first floor, with smoke damage throughout the building.

Residents reported smelling smoke from as far away as Mammoth Road, while a cluster of curious neighbors gathered on the nearby lawn.

Londonderry Fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie said the incident remained under investigation. Fire crews from Londonderry, Auburn and Windham assisted at the scene, while crews from Litchfield and Hudson provided mutual aid at the Londonderry fire station.

No one was injured in the blaze and homeowner Chuck England, who has lived in the condo for the past five years, wasn't home at the time of the fire.

“I was told that there was smoke coming out of my big screen TV,” a visibly shaking England said shortly after arriving on the scene. “All I know is that I didn't turn on my washer and dryer today and I didn't do any cooking tonight.”

MacCaffrie said two of the firefighters were able to rescue England's two cats, Pebbles and Bam Bam.

“Well, actually we just opened the door and one of them ran out,” MacCaffrie said. “The other one needed a bit more encouragement.”

The two frightened felines remained at large Wednesday evening, having reportedly retreated into the nearby woods.

“By the time I got here, they'd already gotten it all out,” said Jake Butler, 20, who stopped by to check on things with his father, Town Councilor Jim Butler. “They sure did a great job,” he added.


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