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Haverhill man receives call every homeowner dreads

Stan Davis, a well-known figure in the Woodsville area due, in large part, to his 36 years as a local Realtor, left his home in Haverhill and headed for work Monday morning, as usual.

The three-bedroom, single-floor home he renovated last year is about 40-years-old, he said, and sets on a rural stretch of Route 116 not far from the Benton line.

Local residents know that section of highway as the Benton Road. He moved in last October.

The drive of about 10 miles brought him to his Davis Realty office in the heart of Woodsville, Haverhill's business district. He said later Monday morning he had left his home at 8:40.

By 10 a.m., Davis received the sort of phone call everyone dreads: A utility crew happened to be near his home after he went to work and called him. His place was on fire, engulfed in flames, in fact. By the time he raced back over Route 116, it was clear that virtually everything he owned was gone.

"I got a tractor out of the shed. I was totally unaware there was any problem when I left the house; I lost everything."

Davis said he lived alone, and was grateful that no one was injured in the fire.

By midmorning, there must have been 20 fire engines lined up outside his house as area departments responded. Crews blocked off the highway and turned around the relatively few motorists who came by in either direction. The bright sun and clear sky belied the morning temperature that stood at 10 degrees. The flames were gone by then, but thick smoke continued to pour from the windows and along the ridgeline.

"My husband saw it this morning and thought the smoke didn't look right. That was close to 10 o'clock," next door neighbor Belinda Elliott said.

"They had redone the whole place last summer, new roof, new vinyl siding," she said in a telephone interview shortly after firefighters cleared the scene at around 2 p.m.

"It's still standing, but it's all gutted and the roof is gone. It's too bad," she said.

Davis said the state Fire Marshal's Office was working to determine the cause.

"I was heating with propane and wood. I did burn firewood; that's always suspect when there's a house fire. But I had a triple-lined chimney," Davis said, as he prepared to make an unplanned shopping trip.

"I've gotta' go get some clothes."


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