Sharon Couple Displaced After Beaver Meadow Road Fire
The home belonging to Josh Landis and Vivien Taylor in Sharon, seen yesterday, was badly damaged by fire on Thursday afternoon. (Valley News - Maggie Cassidy) Purchase photo reprints »
A firefighter turns on a hose to extinguish flames in the rapidly moving fire. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Sharon — A married couple who work as research associates at Dartmouth College are staying with friends after a fire badly damaged their home on Beaver Meadow Road Thursday afternoon.
Fire officials have not released a report on the cause, said owner-occupant Josh Landis, who purchased the contemporary two-story home with his wife, Vivien Taylor, in August. They have lived in the Upper Valley for several years and work in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth.
However, Landis said Sharon Fire Chief Dana Durkee was “confident on the scene” on Thursday that the fire started where the chimney and wood stove connected.
The stove had been loaded in the morning and turned down when the couple left for work that day, Landis said.
“We arrived home from work (Thursday) night around 6 o’clock just to find the firemen finishing up. ... From my perspective, I just wanted to thank the firemen for doing their job. They’re not the kind of people that you want to see at your house,” but when you do, “you’re happy that they’re risking their lives” to help you, Landis said.
Durkee told the Valley News on Thursday that some of the fire department’s tankers struggled to climb an icy, sloped driveway leading to the home at 1100 Beaver Meadow Road. By the time they were able to get water to the home about 45 minutes after arriving, much of the damage had been done.
“That’s the sad part about living in a rural area,” Durkee said.
Yesterday, charred remnants of a wood stove and other materials spilled out of a damaged wall on one side of the house.
An adjustor will visit the house on Monday to estimate the cost of the damage, Landis said. He and Taylor are not sure yet whether they can salvage the house, which was built in 2006. It was valued at $288,400 in 2011, according to Town of Sharon appraisal records.
Mary Ayer, who lives a few houses down from Landis and Taylor, said she didn’t see or smell the fire, but received phone calls from several neighbors who saw the flames from their houses closer to Route 132. Traffic on Beaver Meadow Road, often used by commuters traveling between Norwich and Sharon, was blocked off and backed up in front of her home for about an hour, she said.
Around 6 p.m., she saw Landis and Taylor arriving in their cars.
She talked to them only briefly — “I’m sorry, but something’s happened to your house,” she recalled telling them — before they put the car in drive and continued toward their home.
Maggie Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3220.