Firefighters busy as house fires break out in Exeter, Hampton FallsBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
January 03. 2018 7:38AM
Two house fires that broke out about the same time in Exeter and Hampton Falls Tuesday night put a strain on manpower as dozens of firefighters battled the flames and frigid temperatures.
A four-alarm fire at 10 Hobart St. in Exeter and a two-alarm fire at 144 Exeter Road in Hampton Falls were reported just after 10:30 p.m.
Firefighters from several area towns responded to the two fires, which caused mutual-aid resources to be stretched thin as the Exeter and Hampton Falls fire departments often rely on some of the same nearby communities to help out during a fire.
Exeter Fire Lt. Don Matheson said his department was short-staffed at the time and the Hampton Falls blaze limited some of its mutual aid.
Exeter was forced to call in mutual aid from some communities that it doesn’t normally count on.
Matheson said the first firefighters to arrive in Exeter found heavy fire at the rear of a 2½-story single-family home.
“They made an aggressive interior attack,” he said.
Two occupants of the home escaped but one was taken to Exeter Hospital with injuries that were not life threatening, Matheson said. He said he wasn’t aware of any pets inside the residence.
Town property records show the Hobart Street residence was built in 1898 and is owned by the Kenick Family Homestead, with Joseph Kenick Jr. listed as a trustee and co-owner.
The fire was brought under control by 1 a.m. but firefighters remained at the scene into Wednesday morning.
Matheson said the house is uninhabitable after sustaining extensive heat, fire and smoke damage.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Matheson said it’s not considered suspicious.
Despite the manpower issues initially, nearly 40 firefighters responded at the height of the blaze.
The cold temperatures also often pose challenges for firefighters as hose lines can easily freeze, Matheson said.