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Dunbarton house destroyed by fire

The Dunbarton fire department tries to quell a fire at a home in Dunbarton on Wednesday night.

(Courtesy of the Dunbarton Fire Department)

The Dunbarton fire department tries to quell a fire at a home in Dunbarton on Wednesday night. (Courtesy of the Dunbarton Fire Department)

A charred frame was all that remained of a two-story Dunbarton home after a fire ravaged the building early yesterday morning.

The blaze reportedly began at 18 Jean Drive when resident Mark Rettig accidentally dropped a cigarette while finishing a floor with stain, Dunbarton fire Chief Jon Wiggin said. “He said it flashed really quickly, and all he could do was run out of the house.”

Rettig, the only occupant of the home, was uninjured.

A neighbor called 911 at midnight, and the first engine arrived on the scene 10 minutes later. By then, Wiggin said, the fire was already fully involved and had spread to a small shed on the property. It took more than 30 firefighters from several towns and close to a dozen trucks to get the two-alarm fire under control in roughly 90 minutes, he said. The department returned hours after putting out the flames to fully extinguish the remaining hot spots.

“The wind was blowing and gusting . . . that helped fan the fire,” Wiggin said. The icy, 1,000-foot private driveway leading to the home made access difficult for the trucks. “The place was a total loss.”

Rettig was able move his pickup truck to a neighbor’s driveway.

“The house was a ball of fire. There’s nothing left,” neighbor Barbara Murphy said. “He was lucky to get out.”

She saw the blaze from her front porch after her nephew woke her up about 12:10 a.m.

“The wind was so strong. It was blowing flames across the cul-de-sac,” she said. Rettig spent the rest of the morning at Murphy’s house. She said she told him he can stay at her home she shares with her husband as long as he needs. “We take care of each other,” Murphy said. “It’s a close neighborhood.”

Rettig has lived in the house since about 2009, she said. His property is situated off the private drive’s cul-de-sac that is shared by two other houses. Murphy’s is the fourth home on Jean Drive, a couple hundred feet down the dirt road.

“It’s been a tough day for the whole neighborhood,” Murphy said. “To see something like that, it’s very tragic.”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)

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