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Neighbor uses skidder to help free stuck fire truck in Walpole

WALPOLE - A fire truck racing to a house fire on March Hill Road Saturday morning got stuck in the home's long, muddy driveway until a neighbor came to the rescue.

Fire Chief Richard Hurlburt said the neighbor brought his skidder to help. "He ended up pulling our truck all the way to the top with his skidder," he said.

The two-alarm fire at the home of Barry Fletcher destroyed about 80 percent of the structure, the chief said.

He said the cause of the fire was "an improperly installed woodstove."

The owner had left home around 6 a.m. Saturday.

A neighbor reported the fire around 8:30 a.m.

It took 40 minutes for about 35 firefighters from Walpole and Bellows Falls and Westminster, Vt., to bring the fire under control.

Hurlburt said they likely could have prevented about half the damage if the fire engine could have gotten up the 1,100-foot driveway faster.

While firefighters did manage to save the contents of three rooms downstairs, he said, "The whole second floor and attic and roof are gone."

Hurlburt said Fletcher and his son are staying with relatives; the home was insured.

- Shawne K. Wickham/Sunday News Staff

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