Official: Candle placed in Christmas tree caused Lempster fireBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
January 02. 2018 9:28PM
LEMPSTER — The cause of a fire that destroyed a Hurd Road home Saturday has been determined to be a candle placed in a Christmas tree.
“The cause was determined to be improper placement of a candle in a Christmas tree,” Lempster Fire Chief Jon Thomas said Tuesday.
The Lempster Fire Department responded to a report of a possible building fire at 85 Hurd Road on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
Three adults — Jonathon Nelson, his sister and his mother — were in the home at the time of the fire.
“All three of them were treated at the scene for various levels of smoke inhalation and burns and all three of them were transported to local hospitals,” Thomas said.
They have all been treated and since released, Thomas said.
Unfortunately the family had delayed reporting the fire, first attempting to put out the fire by themselves, Thomas said.
“The occupants of the building delayed calling, they tried fighting the fire themselves for a short bit which delayed our response,” Thomas said. “The quicker we’re notified of it obviously the better and the other important thing is that all the doors and windows are closed behind you.”
He added it was also reported to him that family members had broken windows, unwittingly feeding oxygen to the fire, in an attempt to rescue cats.
“We had reports that people had broken out windows and were trying to rescue cats,” Thomas said. “There were cats unaccounted for.”
One cat was rescued, but “we had reports that there was as many as six or eight cats.”
Because of the open windows and doors and delay of reporting the fire, the house was fully involved with flames when fire crews began arriving, Thomas said. The house was a total loss, he said.
Towns that responded with mutual aid were Goshen, Unity, Washington, Marlow, Newport, Acworth, Alstead, Claremont, Walpole, Charlestown, and Golden Cross Ambulance.
The family has been taken in by friends.
The Lempster Ladies Auxiliary was taking donations for the family at the fire station Monday and plans to announce another donation day soon.
Stuart Teitelbaum, a friend of Johnathon Nelson, has started a GoFundMe page to help the family.
Teitelbaum said Nelson may have to have surgery for burns on his face.