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Plainfield fire levels house, displaces family of four

Union Leader Correspondent

January 02. 2018 9:30PM
A Tuesday morning fire destroyed a Plainfield home, displacing a family of four. (COURTESY)

PLAINFIELD — An early-morning fire on Tuesday burned down a Ferry Hill Road home, displacing a family of four.

“The house was a total loss, family of four displaced, a mom and a dad and a boy and a girl, 11 and 12,” Plainfield Fire Chief Bill Taylor said Tuesday. “The dad was injured. Not sure how he was injured.”

The father of the family had a foot or an ankle injury and was taken by Windsor, Vt., Ambulance to Dartmouth-Hitcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

Taylor identified the couple as Don and Lauren Sharkey.

Firefighters responded to the report of a structure fire at 17 Ferry Hill Road at 12:49 a.m. Tuesday.

Firefighters from Meriden, Cornish and Lebanon — and Windsor and Hartland, Vermont — assisted the Plainfield firefighters at the scene.

“There wasn’t much left when we got there, but the extreme cold made the fire difficult to fight. It was a struggle all night to keep water from freezing up,” Taylor said.

Temperatures were 20 below, which caused three fire engines to freeze as well.

Firefighters finally cleared the scene at 5 a.m., but had to return two more times during the day for reports of flare-ups. Taylor said an excavator was brought in to knock down what remained of the house so firefighters could reach and finally extinguish the smoldering embers that were causing the flare-ups.

As for the cause of the fire, Taylor said, “it’s undetermined at this time, but we have a suspicion that it had something to do with a candle and a Christmas tree. That’s the working theory that we’ve got based on the interviews with the owners.”

Taylor said a dry Christmas tree can catch and spread fire fast, “an overwhelming inferno in a room.” He said he does not know if that is what happened in this fire, “but it’s always a possibility when you bring a tree inside a house.”

The Red Cross was on scene, Taylor said, and the Plainfield welfare officer is also working to assist the family. The family has been placed in temporary housing, he said, but lost everything in the fire except the clothes on their backs.

Public Safety Lempster

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