SOMERSWORTH — Emergency personnel responded to a 2-alarm, early morning fire at a West High Street home.
All occupants were outside the home upon firefighters' arrival, no rescues had to be made and there were no injuries. Occupants were alerted by smoke detectors in the home, the Fire Department said. The building is owned by Kevin Haines of Rollinsford.
The Somersworth Police Dispatch Center received a 911 call from 28 West High St. reporting smoke in the building at 4:56 a.m. Nov. 10. The on-duty fire crew was dispatched at 4:58 a.m., arrived at 5:03 a.m. and ordered a box alarm summoning off-duty Somersworth fire personnel, followed quickly by a first alarm assignment, which brought crews from Dover, Rochester, Durham, and Berwick, Maine.
Somersworth firefighters were confronted by heavy fire rolling out the side of the building at the first floor level. Fire also was in the walls and floor on the first floor advancing to the second floor and possibly attic. It was impossible to place an aerial ladder to the roof due to overhead electrical wires so all access to the roof and roof ventilation was via ground ladders.
A second alarm was ordered at 5:20 a.m. bringing firefighters from Rollinsford, Newington, Pease Air National Guard, and South Berwick and North Berwick, Maine.
Somersworth firefighters advanced hose lines to the first and second floors to attack the fire. Later arriving crews from Rochester and Dover began attacking fire hidden in the floors and walls. Firefighters from Berwick, South Berwick, North Berwick and Newington relieved firefighters as their air tanks were depleted. Durham provided a firefighter safety crew.
Eversource cut power to the building and Somersworth police controlled the scene. American Ambulance set up firefighter rehabilitation services.
All floors and walls were eventually opened up and salvage operations for occupant’s belongings also took place.
The fire's cause was determined to be faulty operation of a pellet stove, according to the Somersworth Fire Department. Damage is estimated at $150,000. The home is uninhabitable at this time. The Red Cross was contacted to provide occupant relief in terms of temporary shelter, food and clothing supplies.