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SOMERSWORTH – A Rochester man was charged in connection with a late-night accident which disrupted phone service and started a brush fire Monday.
Police say a 1997 Dodge pickup driven by Frank Cunningham, 52, of Amazon Mobile Home Park, Rochester, struck two telephone relay boxes and started a brush fire near the intersection of Whitehouse Road and Route 108 at 11:21 p.m.
Fire Lt. Mike Clough said a small fire began after electrical wires hit the ground, and sparks ignited some nearby grass and leaves.
“It’s wet out, but it’s been fairly windy which dries things out,” Clough said, adding this allows fires to quickly spread across the dry top layer of dead leaves and dry grass.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire, and police arrested Cunningham along Whitehouse Road “some distance from the crash.” Cunningham was charged with driving while intoxicated and conduct after an accident. He was released on $2,500 personal recognizance and is scheduled to appear for an arraignment May 1 at 12:30 p.m.