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Training team joins effort to extinguish Northfield blaze

Union Leader Correspondent

December 04. 2012 8:17PM
A fire at the Diplomat Apartment Building on Dearborn Road in Northfield displaced eight families Monday night. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent)

NORTHFIELD - A blaze that left eight families homeless could have been far more devastating had it not been for a sprinkler system and extra firefighters on duty, officials said.

"This fire occurred during a regularly scheduled department training which gave us additional personnel arriving with Engine 3," Tilton-Northfield Chief Bradley Ober said in a news release. The two-alarm fire caused mostly smoke damage at the eight-unit Diplomat Apartment Building, 10 Dearborn Road. The blaze was reported about 7:30 p.m. Monday by a tenant.

When firefighters arrived, the tenants were leaving the building. Smoke was coming from the basement laundry room and smoke alarms were sounding.

Firefighters were able to quickly dowse the flames, saving most of the building and most of the tenants' possessions.

"The smoke alarms and the sprinklers really made a big difference in this fire," Tilton-Northfield Fire Department Lt. Sean Valovanie said. "We kept most of the damage to the basement and some of the first floor, but most of the building had some minor smoke damage, that's about it."

No one was hurt. No cause has yet been determined for the fire.

The building's owner, Bedard Family Realty, has arranged for the tenants to stay at a local hotel while the damage is assessed, fire officials said.

Upon arrival, Tilton-Northfield's Engine 3 crew stretched a water line into the basement and quickly located the fire. A backup line was quickly deployed as well.

After the blaze was extinguished, crews found that the fire had begun to extend up through a piping area from the basement into a first-floor apartment.

"The basement has a partial sprinkler system in the laundry and boiler rooms," Ober said. "Although the sprinklers did not extinguish the fire, it did help to contain it."

In their "overhaul" work, fire crews removed much of the building's insulation, finding some small "hot spots" that needed extinguishing. Crews left the scene about 11:30 p.m.

Tilton-Northfield and Franklin fire crews were assisted by firefighters from Sanbornton, Belmont, Laconia and Gilford. Crews from the Belmont and Concord fire departments provided station coverage.

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Dan Seufert may be reached at

Human Interest Public Safety Northfield

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