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January 04. 2013 8:24PM

Rindge fights two fires following snowmobiler search


Rindge Firefighters douse a fire in the former Cyprus Grove Restaurant Friday night. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

RINDGE -- Firefighters responded to two fires on Friday -- the first at an East Main Street home and the second at the former Cyprus Grove Restaurant.

Both blazes were started accidentally, Fire Chief Rickard Donovan said.

Firefighters went to 129 East Main St., the home of Ron Young, his girlfriend and their elementary-school-aged daughter around 1 p.m. and found a heavy fire in the second floor started by a cigarette that had fallen into a mattress.

The two-story single family home has heavy fire, heat and water damage, he said.

“The home owner had put the fire out. He accidentally dropped a cigarette,” Donovan said, around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning. Then around 5:30 a.m. Young saw the mattress smoldering. He doused it with water, considered removing the mattress from the home, but because it was sopping wet and the fire appeared gone, he left it and went to work.

“The girlfriend came back to the house and that's when she noticed some smoke,” Donovan said, adding that when she approached the second-story stairs,she saw heavy smoke, heard crackling and saw the paint on the walls melting.

“So she grabbed the cat and got out of the house and called us,” he said.

The home is going to need an extensive overhaul and is currently uninhabitable, Donovan said. The girlfriend, though, owns her own home so the family has not been displaced, he added.

The Fire Marshal is looking into the cigarette, which should have been self-extinguishing, Donovan said.

Just as firefighters were clearing the house fire, they responded to a basement fire at the former Cyprus Grove Restaurant building on Route 119 around 5:30 p.m.

“The place was changing ownership and the old owners are in there and it appears that they have been removing some copper piping and probably not using the best practices when using the torch inside," Donovan said.

"The fire was contained to a small area around where some copper piping was being removed with a torch and the torch got into one of the partition walls. … Their efforts to try to put it out before our arrival was unsuccessful,” Donovan said.

The restaurant was recently sold to a new owner at auction. The new owner is letting the former owners sell the restaurant equipment, Donovan said.

The new owner plans to remodel the building into office space.

Donovan said the fire was started accidentally and that he has advised the former owners to use licensed tradespeople for any future electrical or plumbing work in the building.

Firefighters quickly put the fire out and cleared the scene just before 7 p.m.

The fires come on the heels of a Thursday afternoon and Friday morning search for a snowmobile operator who left a snowmobile stuck in the frozen waters of Emerson Pond.

“The past 24 hours has been challenging,” Donovan said.


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