Feb 28, 2016 9:54 AM

Laconia fire forces early morning evacuation from condominiums in the Weirs

LACONIA - An early morning fire forced the evacuation of a condominium building in the Weirs after a fire spread into the walls from a wood stove Sunday.

Fire Captain Chris Shipp said the call came in just after 4 a.m. when one of the residents got up to use the bathroom and smelled smoke. She woke her husband and they called 911 after seeing something glowing around the fireplace.

The pair were advised to evacuate and they knocked on doors on the way out trying to rouse their neighbors. Police and firefighters also worked to evacuate residents as other firefighters tackled the fire that had worked its way through the walls of the wood-frame structure, eventually punching through the roof. Shipp was not sure how many people were forced to leave the building.

"It's a huge building so there was a lot of evacuation," he said.

In all, four units were damaged by the fire, Shipp said. Firefighters got the blaze under control within an hour but stayed on the scene until almost 6:30 a.m. to make sure it was completely extinguished.

Shipp said it was fortunate the woman had awoken and discovered the fire. The building did have smoke and heat detectors but the fire had not yet triggered any alarms.

The fire appeared to have escaped into the walls where the wood stove piping met the fireplace chimney, he said. Laconia firefighters received assistance from Gilford, Holderness, Sanbornton and Franklin firefighters at the scene while Meredith and Belmont firefighters covered the Laconia and Weirs stations.

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