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December 20. 2012 3:12PM

Child dies in Londonderry mobile home fire


Firefighters are shown on the scene of a mobile home fire in Whispering Pines trailer park, in which a child died Thursday afternoon. (Jeff Hastings)
LONDONDERRY - A fire in Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park claimed the life of a young child early Thursday afternoon.

Shortly before 1 p.m., the Londonderry Fire Department responded to reports of a mobile home engulfed in flames at 17 Norwich Place, Chief Kevin MacCaffrie said.

“The fire was pretty well involved by the time we arrived,” MacCaffrie said. Auburn, Litchfield and Derry firefighters arrived on the scene around the same time as Londonderry, when firefighters were told a victim was trapped inside.

Using hand-lines, firefighters were able remove the unconscious and injured child, discovered in the rear of the building. MacCaffrie said the victim was transported to Parkland Medical Center in Derry, but did not survive.

Several witnesses reported a mother and baby had escaped the blaze, though another child was trapped inside. A neighbor who declined to give her name said she saw another neighbor attempt to smash the home's window with a plastic shovel, and the mother and her infant were able to escape through the window.

The building, a 14-by-32-foot mobile home, sustained major fire and smoke damage, MacCaffrie said. “As in the case of most small structures, the fire spread very quickly,” he added.

The park is located off Route 28 Bypass and is situated upon the Derry-Auburn town line. The mobile home park is located in both Londonderry and Derry.

Late Thursday afternoon, a number of fire and police vehicles from area towns were parked in the nearby JR's convenience store. Volunteers from the American Red Cross assisted firefighters and neighbors at the scene as the temperatures began to drop. Police cruisers were stationed at both ends of Norwich Place, which was closed to incoming traffic. A small tricycle was visible at the end of the home's driveway.

District Fire Marshal Max Schultz said investigations into the incident would continue well into the evening hours, as officials interview neighbors and try determine what may have caused the fire. Schultz declined to release name or age of the victim, pending the notification of family members.

Previous story follows:

LONDONDERRY - A child was killed Thursday afternoon in a fire that engulfed a mobile home in Whispering Pines trailer park.

The fire was reported shortly before 1 p.m. at Norwich Place, one of the roads that connects the park, located on Route 28 Bypass at the Auburn town line. The park straddles both Derry and Londonderry.

Several witnesses at the scene reported that a mother and child had escaped the blaze, though another child was trapped inside.

The fire chiefs from Derry and Londonderry held a joint statement at 3 p.m. and released few details. They would not confirm the age of the victim, pending notification of family members and the medical examiner's report. They did say that the victim was taken to Parkland Medical Center in Derry and pronounced dead.

Londonderry fire chief Kevin MacCaffrie said, “The fire was pretty well involved by the time we arrived." Auburn and Derry firefighters arrived on the scene around the same time as Londonderry, when firefighters were told a victim was trapped inside. Using hand-lines, the firefighters were able to remove the unconscious victim.

An investigator from the state Fire Marshal's Office was also on the scene. District Fire Marshal Max Schultz said the incident remains under investigation. Schultz declined to release the name or age of the victim. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.

Fire officials continue to investigate the scene, and Schultz said it could be several more hours or longer before more information becomes available.

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