WARREN — The fast-moving fire Sunday night that killed a woman and destroyed her family’s home remains under investigation.
The New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday identified the victim as Rebecca Self, 57, of Warren, and ruled the manner of her death as accidental, due to “the inhalation of products of combustion and thermal burns.”
In a prepared statement, the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office said its investigation into the cause of the fire at 1452 NH Route 25 is ongoing.
Warren Selectman Charlie Chandler, a neighbor of the Selfs, called her death “a terrible blow for all of the community. And to be blunt, it’s just hard to fathom and hard to cope with.
“We’re a remote little town and life can be really tough at times,” especially now for Self’s extended family, Chandler said.
According to Warren Fire Chief Art Heath and Warren Police Chief John Semertgakis Jr., the fire was reported around 8 p.m. Sunday and the first unit to arrive was from the Warren-Wentworth Ambulance Service.
The crew from the ambulance service found the single-family residence “fully engulfed,” in flames, Heath said, but they were able to rescue an adult female. The heavy fire conditions, however, presented a rescue of Self.
The first woman, plus a third woman who was also in the home, were later taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The women’s identities were not divulged nor were their injuries or conditions known Monday evening.
Semertgakis said two children under the age of 12 were uninjured and able to escape from the house, located about a half mile from the Benton town line.
The chief said he believed a pet dog perished in the fire and that two adult males who also reside in the house were not home when the blaze began.
Heath, who has been chief of the all-volunteer Warren Fire Department for three years and a member since 1976, said fatal fires are “uncommon” in Warren, adding he doesn’t recall when the last occurred.
The Warren, Wentworth and Rumney fire departments answered the initial call, Heath said, followed by departments from Plymouth, Haverhill Corner, Campton-Thornton, Ashland and Piermont, the latter providing station coverage.
Because there are no fire hydrants in Warren, firefighters had to draft water from a stream on nearby Swain Hill Road, said Heath, who thanked all the agencies for their assistance and also Warren’s Public Works Department for prepping the water supply for them.
No firefighters were injured fighting the blaze, Heath said.
Semertgakis said the residence was deemed uninhabitable and its residents were being assisted by the Red Cross.