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One hospitalized, one rescued in Epsom blaze

An Epsom home caught fire on Wednesday morning;  July 17, 2013.

Brian Blackden photo

An Epsom home caught fire on Wednesday morning; July 17, 2013. Brian Blackden photo

An Epsom man was hospitalized yesterday morning following a two-alarm house fire during which his wife was rescued from a second-story balcony by firefighters.

Neighbors identified the residents of 33 Lantern Lane as Richard and Diane Clark, who have lived in the Epsom home since 1986. Epsom fire Chief Stewart Yeaton said the male resident was hospitalized for minor burns and smoke inhalation and was taken to Concord Hospital.

The hospital confirmed Richard Clark was a patient in the Intensive Care Unit yesterday evening but could not comment on his condition.

The Epsom Fire Department was alerted to the blaze just before 9 a.m. yesterday. In addition to Epsom, Yeaton said fire departments from Concord, Chichester, Pembroke, Loudon, Pittsfield, Northwood and Allenstown responded to the scene.

The fire started on the second floor of the home, Yeaton said. The male resident escaped down the stairs and outside, but the female resident was unable to make it downstairs.

Instead, she climbed out a second-story window onto a small balcony area where the firefighters were able to rescue her with ladders, he said.

“We did have flames coming out through the second floor when we got there and flames were going over her head on the balcony,” Yeaton said. “There could have been a lot worse injuries, but the guys did a great job knocking (the fire) down and getting her out very quickly.”

Yeaton said the fire departments were able to contain the main body of the fire in 30 minutes, and they gained full control of the flames in another 20 to 30 minutes.

The male resident informed the police he had been smoking while hooked up to an oxygen machine, Yeaton said, which caused the blaze.

“It just made a flash fire,” Yeaton said.” He’s lucky to be alive.”

Yeaton said the flames caused heavy damage to an upstairs bedroom and much of the second floor, while the first floor had smoke damage.

“There was damage but they should be able to rebuild,” he said. “It’s not a total loss.”

A neighbor who also lives on Lantern Lane said her children saw Diane Clark at her home yesterday afternoon after the fire. Clark told them everyone in the home escaped the blaze and was all right, but the couple’s dog was still missing, said the neighbor, who did not wish to be identified.

Shortly before 4 p.m., a group of neighborhood kids saw the dog, which they identified as a beagle mix named “Sam” or “Samantha.” Although she ran away, the group was canvassing Lantern Lane to attempt to find and catch the beagle and return her to her owners.

(Mel Flanagan can be reached at 369-3321 or mflanagan@cmonitor.com.)

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