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Three-alarm fire destroys Newbury business

NEWBURY -- A stubborn, three-alarm fire that broke out Saturday night, burned until early Sunday morning, destroying a Newbury business.

The fire at the Contessa and the Cowboy, a furniture and interior design business at 2 West Province Road, near the Mount Sunapee traffic circle, broke out before 10 p.m. Saturday night and burned until almost 6 a.m. Sunday, Newbury Fire Chief Henry Thomas said.

When the first firefighters arrived, the fire was burning on the first floor. But Thomas said it quickly spread up the walls and into an unoccupied attic area. Additional alarms were sounded, eventually bringing crews from eight nearby communities.

"The attic was dead space," Thomas said. "The area was not accessible, we had to cut holes in the building and in the roof to get to it."

The building housed a furniture store that also provided upholstery and interior design services. Thomas said stuffed chairs and sofas and interior design supplies burned inside the building.

"We had plenty of water, that was never a problem," Thomas said. "But we can only let (firefighters) stay inside for so long before we have to pull them out and send others in."

In addition to Newbury, firefighters from Bradford, Goshen, Newport, Sunapee, Warner, Wilmont, Henniker and Sutton were called to the scene.

As daybreak approached, Thomas said he decided to smother the rubble in foam.

"I was concerned about it igniting," Thomas said. "The foam means it lacked oxygen and suffocated."

The building was unoccupied when the fire broke out. Thomas said no firefighters were hurt.

Trace Adkins
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