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As investigators comb house, no ID yet in deadly Wilton fire

Union Leader Correspondent

April 30. 2012 10:00PM
Fire rages through a home at 80 Maple St. in Wilton Sunday. (COURTESY/Douglas St. Clair)

WILTON - Officials have not yet released the identity of the person killed in Sunday night's house fire on Maple Street.

On Monday, Deputy Fire Marshal John Raymond combed through the wreckage to determine how the fire started at the yellow farmhouse, which has a finished attached barn.

'The autopsy has been completed,' said Raymond, 'but we're not releasing any further information at this time.'

Raymond said that officials still have to interview everyone involved; he has been working with the Wilton police and fire departments.

Neighbors said the home had recently been renovated, its barn converted into a rental unit. It was listed on the town's property tax rolls as belonging to Donna Crane. A firefighter who asked not to be named said a couple and two children lived in the residence.

In addition to the investigators on scene Monday, the only firefighter to be hurt during the three-alarm blaze, Wilton Fire Capt. Joe Torre, was standing by as crews searched the house with a thermal camera checking for hot spots.

Torre's face was burned in the fire. He had burns and blisters on both cheeks and on his wrist.

'It's my own fault,' said Torre, who trains firefighters in how to wear their protective gear properly. In the rush to start attacking the blaze, he said he forgot one of his own lessons and left gaps on either side of his hood and face mask.

'The biggest injury I have is to my pride,' said Torre, a 16-year veteran of the department. 'I'm an example to the firefighters I teach of what can happen if they don't do things carefully.'

Torre was one of the first on the scene of the fire on Sunday evening. Flames had completely engulfed the barn and were moving toward the house. His first thought was to rescue anyone inside, but it quickly became clear that the fire needed to be controlled and fast.

'We went in through the 'ell' and started trying to beat back the fire to keep it in the barn,' he said. 'But the barn was really rocking because it was timber frame, so there was lots of fuel and lots of air.'

Torre said he doesn't know the homeowner, but said he feels very sorry for the people who suffered the tragedy.

'It was a pretty bad fire,' Torre said.

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