UPDATED: One dead, another severely burned in Danbury house fire
DANBURY – Fire officials said Friday morning a woman is dead and a man was severely burned after a fire ripped through a family home at 24 Railroad Drive, near the center of town.
Fire Chief Tom Austin said one of two homeowners was pulled from the burning two-story residence and taken to New London Hospital with severe burns to his upper body and head. The body of a woman later was recovered by firefighters.
He said the woman's identity would not be released until the completion of an autopsy by the New Hampshire Medical Examiner, which is expected to be done this morning at Concord Hospital. The victim's identification and the cause of death will not be relased until after confirmation and family notification.
Austin would not disclose the name of the man pulled from the burning home or his condition, citing privacy laws.
Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries.
Investigators with the state Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the cause of the blaze, which took firefighters from 14 surrounding communities 3-1/2 hours to extinguish.
The fire originally was reported at 7:50 p.m. as a chimney fire. While the investigation is ongoing, initial information and evidence indicate a wood stove and chimney may be involved in the fire's cause, according to a news release issued by New Hampshire State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan, police chief David Suckling and Austin.
Deputy Fire Chief Richard Swift said flames quickly spread and as crews were arriving they could see "the entire neighborhood was lit up pretty well."
The home is a total loss.
An earlier version of the story follows:
DANBURY – Fire officials said one person is feared dead and another was severely burned after a fire ripped through a family home at 24 Railroad Drive, near the center of town.
Fire Chief Tom Austin said one of two homeowners in the home was pulled from the burning home and taken to a local hospital with severe burns to his upper body and head.
As of 10:30 p.m., almost three hours after the fire was reported, the other homeowner had not been found, Austin said.
A local resident, Daniel Cline, said he was visiting next door when the fire broke out. He and his friends pulled one person out of the fire, a man whom he know only as "Dean."
"We pulled him out of the house, but he kept yelling, 'Get my wife out, get my wife out,'" Cline said.
Austin confirmed that neighbors helped rescue one man, but he couldn't say if the man's wife had died.
"I can't confirm that yet, because we haven't found the person," Austin said.
The fire was originally reported as a chimney fire at 7:50 p.m., but it quickly spread, he said.
"It was completely involved when we got here," he said.
Fighting the fire was difficult, because of heavy snow squalls, high winds, and a lack of available water sources, Austin said.
The home is near the center of town, where a Smith River offshoot crosses, and that would have been the major source of water, Austin said.
Instead, fire trucks were getting loads of water from as far away as Bristol, Austin said.
"All of our water sources are frozen over," he said.
The smell of smoke was evident miles away from the scene of the fire, which was closed at about 9:30 p.m. as a power wire had fallen into a wet area, making it too dangerous to continue the search, Austin said.
A representative from the state Fire Marshal's office was called to the scene.
The 1,200-square-foot single-family home is a total loss, Austin said, though the frame was still standing late Thursday night.