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Neighbor helps stop fire in New Ipswich home; firefighter injured

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

February 09. 2018 4:45PM
An electrical fire in a attached shed was quickly knocked down with the help of a neighbor in New Ipswich Friday morning. (Meghan Pierce)



NEW IPSWICH -- A firefighter was sent to the hospital after he was injured at the scene of a three-alarm house fire Friday morning.

Firefighter’s responded to 374 Ashby Road/Route 123, which is at the corner of Willard Road, about 9:51 a.m.

At the scene, New Ipswich Fire Chief Meredith Lund said a local man driving by spotted flames in a shed attached to the home and tried to evacuate occupants and extinguish the fire.

“The man is a neighbor up the street so he knew her [the homeowner] quite well, which was great,” Lund said. “He was driving by, saw smoke down in the shed area and knew that she was home ‘cause he saw her car. So he called her on her cell phone.”

The phone call helped wake the woman, the chief said. Smoke detectors inside the home had also gone off, though the woman believed her upstairs tenant’s cooking had triggered them.

“When I got here, there was quite a bit of smoke coming so I called for a second alarm,” Lund said. “[The neighbor] thought he had knocked it down and was trying to get people out.”

There were still residents inside when police arrived.

“And then we did a check and it looked like it got into the siding of the house,” Lund said.

Firefighters gained access to the upstairs and found the fire in a closest and “did a great job knocking it down,” the chief said.

Speaking Friday afternoon, Lund said the fire appears to have been sparked by an electrical malfunction. It started in the shed and spread up the wall and into the second floor, he said.

A third alarm was sounded to bring more tankers to the scene.

Because of the freezing temperatures, “I didn’t know how the water source was going to be,” Lund said.

Tankers or engines from eight fire departments responded to the scene after the third alarm.

One firefighter was injured when he was struck in the head by a piece of falling wood. Though he was in full gear and wearing his helmet at the time, Lund said, he was complaining of a headache and so was taken to Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough.

The firefighter was later released with no serious injury and will be monitored at home by his wife, Lund said Friday afternoon.

The fire department is looking into a way to recognize the neighbor who helped.

“He did a fantastic job,” Lund said, both evacuating residents and dousing the flames in the shed before firefighters arrived using a fire extinguisher.

“He didn’t give up. He was persistent. He knew she was in there and he didn’t give up,” the chief said. “He went above and beyond the call of duty for a neighbor.”


Courts Public Safety New Ipswich