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Deadly blaze said to have started on kitchen stove

LONDONDERRY - The fire at Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park on Thursday afternoon that left a child dead was likely sparked by an unattended stove, the state Fire Marshal's office said.

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 person was trapped inside. The firefighters got the unconscious and injured child out of the building. The child was found in the rear of the building. MacCaffrie said the child was taken to Parkland Medical Center in Derry and died there.

The identities of the victims were withheld by authorities pending notification of family.

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

A neighbor, who would not give her name, said she saw another neighbor try to smash a window with a plastic shovel, and the mother and infant were able to escape through the window. The building, a 14-by-32 foot manufactured home, sustained major fire and smoke damage, MacCaffrie said.

"As in the case of most small structures, the fire spread very quickly," he said.

The mobile home park is off the Route 28 Bypass and sits on the Derry town line, though the fire happened in Londonderry.

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. Londonderry fire crews cleared the scene shortly before 6 p.m.

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April Guilmet may be reached at

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