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Firefighters battle icy conditions as blaze destroys single-family home in Suncook

  • A fire destroyed a home at 24 Kimball St., in Suncook, on Thursday. Courtesy of Jay Heath

  • A two-alarm fire destroyed a home at 24 Kimball St. in Pembroke on Thursday evening. No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze. Courtesy of Jay Heath

  • Firefighters at the scene of a fire at 24 Kimball Street in Pembroke on Thursday, January 10, 2019. Jay Heath—COURTESY

  • Damage from a two-alarm blaze in Pembroke is seen Friday morning. GEOFF FORESTERMonitor staff

  • A fire destroyed a Pembroke home Thursday evening. The remains are seen here the next day on Jan. 11, 2019. (NICK STOICO / Monitor staff) Nick Stoico—Monitor staff

  • Damage is seen at a home destroyed in a two-alarm fire in Suncook on Thursday evening. Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

  • A fire destroyed a Pembroke home Thursday evening. The remains are seen here the next day on Jan. 11, 2019. (NICK STOICO / Monitor staff) Nick Stoico—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/11/2019 7:36:53 AM

Firefighters in Pembroke battled a destructive blaze in freezing temperatures late Thursday night that destroyed a Kimball Street home.

Pembroke fire Chief Harold Paulsen said it was a single-family house and no one was home when it caught fire. The cause is under investigation, but Paulsen said arson is not suspected.

The American Red Cross was notified Friday and was sending a team to assess the needs of the residents and provide assistance, said Wendy Lapham, chief communications officer for the regional office in Concord.

Paulsen said the call came in at 9:24 p.m. Thursday when someone reported a smoky odor in Suncook Village. A patrolling police officer nearby followed the scent as it grew stronger, leading to 24 Kimball St., where smoke was billowing from the home.

The fire quickly spread, Paulsen said, and flames whipped violently from second-floor windows as firefighters went to work dousing the home in water. Fire departments in neighboring communities were dispatched to assist in taking down the two-alarm blaze.

The house, built in 1878 according to town records, had a “balloon-frame” structure, Paulsen said, a style common in wood-frame homes built in the 19th and early 20th centuries that is dreaded by firefighters as flames tend to spread quickly through the floors and walls.

The fire was under control by about 1 a.m., Paulsen said. Nobody was injured aside from some bruises as firefighters slipped and slid on the icy road that runs down a hill between Main and Glass streets.

“We were walking on a skating rink,” Paulsen said.

The town’s public works department worked throughout the fire spreading sand on the road for better traction. Sand was frequently reapplied as hose water washed it down the street and refroze.

None of the surrounding homes were affected by the fire, Paulsen said.

The house was being torn down on Friday, and Paulsen hopes the cause will become more clear as they remove the charred wood and furniture inside.

The house is owned by John and Judith Mader, according to assessing records.

Seven departments from surrounding towns were called in to assist, including Concord, Allenstown, Hooksett, Bow, Epsom, Loudon and Chichester.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3321, or on Twitter @NickStoico.)

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