GILMANTON — Susan and Russell Lunt sat in their pickup truck Sunday afternoon, watching as firefighters cleaned up the debris from what had been their barn until a four-alarm fire burned it to the ground and left their home a total loss.
Susan Lunt sadly explained that there were casualties: two pregnant goats, three young goats, and 15 chickens all died in the barn fire, which extended to the couple's home, and left it a total loss, according to Fire Chief Paul J. Hempel III.
"At least we saved the dogs," she said, explaining that the couple's two beagles and its Jack Russell terrier were outside of the barn when the fire started.
As for the loss of her home, "there's just not a lot to say about it," she said, looking downward as she spoke.
Firefighters from 15 towns were called to 1765 Route 140 in Gilmanton Iron Works to fight the fire, which was reported at 11:10 a.m. Sunday, Hempel said.
"A passer-by saw it, and the person ran up to the door and told the homeowners their barn was on fire," he said.
When he arrived, Hempel said the 40-by-60-foot barn "was fully involved in flames." Heavy winds had pushed the flames to the 2,700-square-foot attached home, and that was also burning, he said.
"I called for a fourth alarm because of the heavy winds, the need for water and the need for manpower," he said.
Though the home's walls and roof were still intact, the inside was destroyed by the flames before firefighters could stop them.
"There was a very heavy volume of flames," he said. "The home is uninhabitable, and the barn burned to the ground."
The cause of the fire was unknown, though it was not considered suspicious in nature. "All we know is it started in the barn," he said.
Gilmanton firefighters were joined by firefighting and rescue crews from Alton, Barnstead, Belmont, Center Harbor, Chichester, Epsom, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, Northwood, New Durham, Pittsfield, Tilton and Wolfeboro.