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Update: Fire that damaged Concord two-unit house, killing 3 cats caused by space heater

  • Firefighters cut through the roof to reach fire in the attic of a two-family house at 109 Liberty St. in Concord on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz—Staff photo

  • Fire fighters cut through the roof to reach fire in the attic of a two-family house at 109 Liberty Street in Concord on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz—Staff photo

  • Crews battle a fire at a two-family house at 109 Liberty Street in Concord on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz—Staff photo

  • Crews battle a fire at a two-family house at 109 Liberty Street in Concord on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz—Staff photo



Monitor staff
Thursday, January 18, 2018

A fire that heavily damaged an old two-family house at 109 Liberty St. on Tuesday was sparked by a space heater being used too close to combustible material, according to Concord fire.

Concord fire responded with all of its units to the blaze at 2:25 p.m. to find fire inside and thick smoke billowing out of the structure. Concord fire Chief Dan Andrus said the incident progressed to a two-alarm fire 11 minutes later, after crews were having a difficult time fighting the fire.

The building is occupied by five adults, one of whom was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and released, Andrus said Tuesday. Three cats died in the fire, but a dog and another cat were rescued.

It is unknown whether anyone was home at the time of the incident. The two-unit house is owned by Carol Cantwell, according to city records.

The layout of the house, built around 1900 with a “balloon frame” style of construction – where the space between the frame and the outside of the building creates pockets of air, allowed the fire to spread throughout the entire building, Andrus said Tuesday. 

Concord fire reminded residents in a press release that “space heaters should be approved by a testing laboratory and should be used in areas where a three foot clearance can be maintained from flammable materials and in a location where it will not be subject to being knocked over or otherwise damaged.”

The home will require extensive repairs before it is habitable.

Access to Liberty Street was closed off for several hours during the incident. 

This story has been updated.