Apr 1, 2017 11:52 AM

Discarded cigarette leads to 2-alarm fire in NH; 3 families displaced during nor'easter

SOMERSWORTH — A discarded cigarette in a first-floor trash can led to a two-alarm fire in Somersworth, leaving three families scrambling for shelter in the Saturday nor'easter.

Somersworth Police Dispatch received a report of smoke in a building from multi-unit home on Summer Street. Firefighters responded and immediately ordered a first-alarm as of 7:26 a.m. Saturday.

Crews aggressively attacked the fire on the first floor, and sent personnel to the second floor to check for fire extension, Fire Chief Keith Hoyle said.

A second-alarm was requested around 8 a.m. after the fire spread through the ceiling and walls into the second floor and ventilated smoke from the adjacent apartment, Chief Hoyle stated. The fire was stopped before it reached the roof.

The three families that resided in the building all evacuated safely, and smoke detectors were still sounding as fire officials arrived. Somersworth Police and American Ambulance provided assistance, including EMS aid and sheltering two of the families in the ambulance, considering the inclement weather.

Fire officials deemed the fire accidental and said it started in a trash can from a discarded cigarette on the first floor and spread throughout that unit and out a back window, which involved the fire escape to the second floor.

There were no injuries and damages exceed $100,000. The building owner, Murray Dameron, of Somersworth, had a representative on the scene.

All three units are untenable and 1-800-Board Up and the Red Cross secured temporary housing for all three families involved.

Eversource disconnected power from the building and the gas was shut off to the structure.

Fire Department units cleared the scene around 9:51 a.m. Due to the snowstorm, the fire department had extra staffing on duty, which aided in the quick knockdown of the initial fire, according to Chief Hoyle.

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