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Sep 3, 2015 12:47 PM

Portsmouth investigating fire at recently-closed Brewster Street rooming house


PORTSMOUTH - An investigation is underway at a closed rooming house at 21 Brewster St. after a fire broke out around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Fire officials say they have ruled out common causes and have brought in a specially trained K-9 as part of the investigation.

The early morning fire, which broke out in the rear of the building, claimed multiple rooms and destroyed walls inside.

"It started down at ground level and worked its way up," said Dep. Fire Chief Carl Roediger.

According to Roediger, the investigation wasn't able to reach a conclusion as of Thursday afternoon.

"Normally, you look for normal causes," he said. "In this case, most of those normal causes have been eliminated.”

Gas and electricity were shut off at the building when it was closed by the city last week for being 'structurally unsafe.' About 40 tenants were told to leave following the order.

According to Cross Roads House, a nearby homeless shelter, 14 people have received assistance from them following the closure.

The Red Cross has also provided cots and blankets.

A majority of Thursday's fire damage was kept to the outside of the building. Brewster Street was closed to traffic throughout the day.

The investigation is continuing.


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