Late-night fire in Pembroke is a nightmare

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  • Pembroke firefighter Terry Judge puts water on the smoking foundation at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The fire left the home gone and two people injured. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Pembroke firefighter Terry Judge puts water on the smoking foundation at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The fire left the home gone and two people injured. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Pembroke firefighter Terry Judge puts water on the smoking foundation at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The fire left the home gone and two people injured. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The chimney stands tall over what is left of the home at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke after the home was fully engulfed in fire.

  • Pembroke firefighter Terry Judge sprays water on the smoking foundation at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke on Tuesday. The fire leveled the residence and two people were injured. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • A Pembroke firefighter walks past what is left of a home at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The fire destroyed the home and sent two people to the hospital. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Neighbor Michael Girard looks at the wreckage of Robin Lounsbury’s house following an overnight fire at 667 Borough Road property in Pembroke. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Pembroke firefighter Terry Judge puts water on the smoking foundation at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke on Tuesday. The fire destroyed the whole home. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • What is left of the home at 667 Borough Road in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The fire sent two people to the hospital. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/4/2021 3:40:13 PM

First, at 11:05 p.m., their doorbell rang like crazy, in rapid-fire succession, suggesting something was wrong.

Then came pounding on their front door, along with cries for a phone. Michelle and Michael Girard raced downstairs and opened the door, where their next-door neighbor on Borough Road in Pembroke stood, panicked and looking to call the fire department.

By the time firefighters arrived at 667 Borough, about 11:25 Monday night, the unoccupied house was roaring with high flames. No one was killed, although two of the three residents in the house – Robin Lounsbury and his stepson – were home at the time of the fire. They were taken away by ambulance and couldn’t be reached for comment.

A poodle survived. The Girards say they heard about another dog and a cat that may have perished, adding that Lounsbury had gone back into the burning house in a desperate search for the pets.

The debris field still smoldered Tuesday morning, with a lone Pembroke firefighter, Terrence Judge, shooting a stream of water at remaining hot spots. All that’s left standing is the chimney, which towers over the charred mess, and a fence lining the property.

According to the Girards, the nerve-racking evening began with a booming sound, foreign to them, coming through their opened bedroom window, before their neighbor’s late-night visit.

“We secured the propane tank early on. It’s an underground tank, so there was not a huge concern about that,” said Robert Farley, the deputy chief for the Pembroke Fire Department. “There were small, constant explosions, probably from things like aerosol cans. Nothing of major consequence.”

The Girards have lived next door to Lounsbury for at least a dozen years. They know him well enough to say he’s a nice guy. His stepson was the one banging on their door, desperate for a phone.

“I was in shock myself and I’m still trying to wake up at the time,” Michelle Girard said. “He’s banging and yelling ‘I need your phone, I need your phone, help, help.’ We opened the door and I hardly recognized him. We only met him once.”

“The first thing we asked was ‘did your stepdad get out okay?’ ” Michael Girard said. “And he did.”

They heard the main part of the house crumble after about a half-hour. Farley said an investigation into the cause of the fire would begin soon. The smoldering fire scene just two miles from the Concord border remained chaotic the next day, with plumes of smoke still looking strong.

The Girards, certainly tired after getting little sleep Monday, said the stepson looked healthy when they opened the door. His SUV remained in their driveway.

“He looked okay,” Michael Girard said. “But he was stressed out, obviously.”




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