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Fire sparks in garage of downtown home; no one injured

Area fire fighters responded to a house fire on the corner of School Street and Huntington Street on Monday night, October 21, 2013.

(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

Area fire fighters responded to a house fire on the corner of School Street and Huntington Street on Monday night, October 21, 2013. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

No one was injured in a fire that broke out last night in a multiunit house on the corner of School and Huntington streets.

The Concord Fire Department received a call about 8 p.m. and had the fire under control by 8:40 p.m., Chief Dan Andrus said. The fire started in the garage and storage area on the first floor of the house and spread up through the walls, breaking out in a cupola at the top of the house. Burn marks were left in two streaks up the building’s white siding. The home contains three units and an office, with four people living there.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Firefighters stayed on the scene for several hours to make sure the fire was completely out, and all of the residents made arrangements to stay elsewhere for the night, Andrus said.

While firefighters from several departments battled the blaze, downtown was blocked off from Rumford to Huntington streets and from School to Center streets. Several dozen residents were on the streets to find out what was happening.

Tanya Bragdon, a resident of the building, didn’t smell smoke or realize the building was on fire until the trucks arrived. She lives on the top floor in the front of the building, the farthest apartment from the fire. She was sitting on her couch flipping through channels on the television and playing backgammon on her cell phone when she heard fire trucks coming down the street. She then looked out the window and saw smoke billowing out of the building.

Her first thought was to grab her cat and get out of the building, while yelling to make sure her neighbors knew what was going on. (She was not able to find her cat when she left the building.) She came outside barefoot in a T-shirt and shorts; her neighbor lent her shoes and a sweatshirt. About 9 p.m., a firefighter brought her wallet and cell phone out to her. She said she hoped her apartment wouldn’t be damaged from the fire, or the effort to put it out.

Two other residents were picked up by family members, Bragdon said, and another at the scene declined to comment.

Firefighters from Allenstown, Bow, Boscawen, Chichester, Pembroke and Hooksett assisted on the scene. Andrus said it is normal to have many departments respond so the firefighters can fight the blaze on a rotating basis.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @kronayne.)

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