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Firefighters save 150-year-old barn in Epsom

Union Leader Correspondent

January 09. 2013 10:24PM
Epsom firefighters stand in front the 150-year-old barn minutes after the two-alarm fire was extinguished. (BRENDAN CLOGSTON/Union Leader Correspondent)

The Epsom Fire Department managed to save a 150-year-old barn on Sanborn Hill Road Wednesday evening after a two-alarm fire on its second floor threatened to consume the building.

"It's about 150 years old," said Brian Nutter, a relative of the homeowner. "The top of the smokestack got so hot that it set some of the two-by-fours on the ceiling above the drywall, they got so hot that they started getting charred and smoking."

The Epsom Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire but did confirm that it originated around the wood stove, burning through the second floor and out into the attic of the barn. The family said the homeowner had converted the barn into an apartment space. While the structure of the building remains intact, the interior damage caused by the fire was substantial enough to make the building uninhabitable for the time being.

The fire department got the call at approximately 3:15 p.m. and managed to have the fire completely extinguished soon afterwards. Though the building is relatively isolated, the fire station is less than a mile away.

"We had it knocked down pretty quick, about 20 minutes," said Epsom Fire Chief Stewart Yeaton. "The guys did a heck of a job stopping it when they did."

The fire produced a significant response, with trucks and personnel from multiple area towns present, in part due to concerns that the fire could spread to adjacent buildings on the property.

"We kept trucks coming because granted these buildings are far apart, but that started generating a lot of heat, and if we lost that we could've lost the rest of them too," said Yeaton.

No one was injured in the fire, and for the time being the family is thankful the damage was as relatively limited as it was.

"Everyone's fine. Another 5 minutes might've been a different story," said Nutter. "They're telling me another 5 minutes and we might've lost the barn. So it could've been worse if they hadn't gotten here as quickly as they did."

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