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April 01. 2014 5:59PM

Washington fire destroys inside of house

WASHINGTON — A family of six was displaced and two pet cats were killed in a fire Tuesday afternoon.

The fire destroyed the inside of the house, said Washington Police Chief Steven Marshall Tuesday.

Marshall said he was first on the scene of 1480 South Main Street and saw smoke coming out of the windows, ridges and eaves of the home.

The fire was reported at 12:33 p.m. by the homeowner's adult son, who also lives at the home. He was home alone when the fire started, but safely outside when emergency responders arrived.

Marshall said firefighters were on scene within 10 minutes. It took that long because they were hampered by the town's weather-worn roads, he said.

"The frost heaves here are tremendous and to get a 65,000-pound truck there with any speed is horrendous," Marshall said.

It took fire crews another five minutes or so to battle the fire, he said. "There was no water source right at the house. They had to run a hose up the road."

After that, firefighters were able to enter the home and it didn't take firefighters long to douse the flames.

The inside of the house was destroyed by the fire, however, and two family cats died in the blaze, he said.

It appears to have been a cooking fire started in the kitchen, Marshall said.

"The son that was home started cooking lunch. He went out to work on his truck and forgot something he was cooking," Marshall said.

The homeowner, Mike Ostertag, was a longtime member of the town fire department and is currently a department of transportation employee, Marshall said.

He lived in the home with his girlfriend, her three children and his son.

Marshall said Red Cross officials responded to the scene and were assisting Ostertag with housing Tuesday afternoon.

Hillsborough and Antrim fire crews responded to the call as well and Lempster firefighters covered the Washington fire station during the call.

mpierce@newstote.com


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