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Rumney apartment burns, but chief says adjacent home saved

March 22. 2015 10:12PM

RUMNEY – A fire of unknown origin spread quickly through an apartment Sunday night, but firefighters made a good "save" and kept the home from being destroyed, according to the fire chief.

Two occupants of the apartment escaped from the home, and no one was injured. One of them called 911 at 8:53 p.m. upon seeing smoke and fire in the apartment, said Fire Chief David Coursey.

"He called 911 and said his house was on fire," Coursey said.

Town firefighters arrived at the scene and found heavy flames. The home is an apartment above a garage, and there is a 2,200-square-foot home nearby.

The fire never threatened the adjacent home, the chief said, as it is "a good distance" from the garage and apartment, he said.

"There was heavy fire coming up from the back of the building, it was very similar to the fire in Campton (on March 5)," he said. "We thought at first that we could knock it down with our people, but it started to get going so we called for help (from other towns)."

Fire crews from the Campton-Thornton, Hebron, Plymouth, Warren, and Wentworth helped attack the fire, Coursey said, and several fire department tankers trucked water to the scene from a river at a nearby bridge.

In about 30 minutes, firefighters managed to stop the fire from advancing. By 10 p.m., the fire was under control, he said.

Most of the building was salvaged, said the chief, who said he wasn’t sure how much damage was done in terms of dollars.

"We did make a very good save, the house will be livable again if they do a major renovation," Coursey said.

The apartment’s two occupants were able to make temporary living arrangements with the owner of the apartment, who helped fire crews find the building, which has a long driveway. They lost a lot of their belongings, he said.

The high winds of earlier in the day had calmed down by the time of the fire, so the weather conditions were not a problem, "although the town had to come up and sand the road some," the chief said.

The cause of the fire is thought to be a problem in the apartment’s electric system, likely in the back of the apartment where the kitchen is located, he said. An investigator from the state Fire Marshal’s Office was scheduled to arrive at the fire scene Monday morning, Coursey said.

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