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One hurt , two homeless after Moultonborough fire heavily damages house

Union Leader Correspondent

March 20. 2015 1:59AM

MOULTONBOROUGH – Two people were left homeless after a one-alarm fire heavily damaged a house in the Moultonborough Neck area of town Thursday night.

One of the two occupants of the home at 247 Eagle Short Road was injured slightly, suffering a burn in an incident that "was independent of the fire," Fire Chief David Bengtson said.

As he waited for firefighters to arrive after calling 911, the man grabbed a hose, hooked it up to an indoor faucet, and was trying to put the fire out himself outside the house when he suffered burn, he said.

"He had good intentions, but that’s not something we recommend doing," the chief said.

Bengston would not identify the residents, and said he wasn’t sure if they are the homeowners or renters of the home. Tax records identify the owners as Richard D. Ponn and Nancy L. Ponn.

The home, a 2,800-square-foot single-family building, had heavy fire showing from one side when firefighters arrived. The fire was mostly coming from an area on the back side of the house that had what Bengston characterized as "faux wood" encasements around the home’s outdoor flue pipes.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the chief said the wooden pipe surroundings were popular a few decades ago.

"When they’re built right, with the right materials, they work fine and they are safe," he said. "In this case, the wood had worn with time, and something appears to have happened that caused the fire to break out in the wooden casings."

Officially, the cause "is very likely accidental," he said.

The fire, which was erroneously originally reported as a chimney fire, spread into an inner partition of the house, and spread through the roof area. It damaged about one-third of the home.

"I’d say the fire did about $150,000 in damage, and the house is not habitable," Bengston said. "It is probably repairable."

The occupants found temporary living quarters, he said.

Town firefighters were aided by crews from Center Harbor, Meredith, and Sandwich, he said. Water to fight the fire was "mostly brought in by tankers."

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