Fire Cuts Phone Line, Delays Response to Plainfield Blaze

Plainfield — Robert Descoteau woke up at 1 a.m. yesterday to an orange glow of fire through his front window. He quickly grabbed a small blue bowl, filled it with water and dumped it on the fire. Then he tried calling 911 but the fire damaged the connection and the line was dead.

Descoteau decided to keep fighting the flames and repeatedly ran back and forth from the kitchen to his porch with the plastic bowl small enough to be used as a dinner dish. He even shoveled snow in from his yard at his one story home on 7 Hell Hollow Road to help extinguish the flames.

After about 30 minutes, the fire had spread up the wall on the south side of the house and Descoteau could no longer reach the flames. So he ran to a neighbor’s home on Westgate Road, where he knew a firefighter lived. While the neighbord called 911, Descoteau ran back home where he continued throwing water on the flames.

“I had no choice,” said Descoteau, who wasn’t injured. “I wasn’t gaining on it. I had to do something.”

Hanover dispatch received the call from Descoteau’s neighbor, Tina Lapan, and firefighters arrived on scene at 1:25 a.m. When Plainfield Fire Chief Frank Currier arrived he saw flames coming on the outside of the home.

The fire was under control by 2 a.m. The Plainfield Police Department said the cause was probably a wood stove.

Damage was contained to the porch and the wall on the south side of the home.

There was very little interior damage and Descoteau was sitting in his living room watching television yesterday afternoon. Next to him sat the wood stove, a pile of bricks and a few damp towels.

The only visible damage was a plastic tarp that covered a portion of the wall on the inside of the house and ceiling.

On the outside, the tan wall had turned black and two windows were visibly charred. The screen surrounding the porch, as well as a sofa, were burned. There is also a door that leads into the house on the south wall, but the fire didn’t damage it.

Descoteau said he repeatedly tried to use his phone before running to his neighbor’s house, but he couldn’t get a call to go through and he doesn’t own a cell phone.

Descoteau applauded the efforts of firefighters. He also said if he had abandoned the fire sooner than he had, the flames would likely have caused more interior damage.

“If I had drove away, I wouldn’t have been able to get back in,” Descoteau said.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at or 603-727-3223.