Fast Moving Fire in Canaan Leaves Three Tenants Homeless
The remains of a mobile home smolder after a fire that displaced three young tenants, killed one pet and left two others missing on Route 118 in Canaan yesterday morning. Officials said the damage was so extensive that the cause of the fire likely would go undetermined. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Canaan — A fast moving fire destroyed a mobile home off Route 118 early yesterday morning, authorities said, displacing three young tenants and killing a pet cat.
Around 4 a.m., firefighters were called to a fire at 289 Route 118, about one mile north of the downtown fire station. The residents, who are in their late teens and early 20s, woke up to smoke and flames and rushed to a neighbor’s home to call 911. They lost all their possessions, but were uninjured, authorities said.
A dog and another cat escaped the blaze, and two other cats were missing yesterday — the renters were hoping that they had run from the home and will return.
“It went very fast,” said Canaan Fire Chief Bill Bellion. “They got out with the clothes on their back. They turned around and looked back, and it went very fast. Mobile homes will do that. There’s nothing left.”
The Canaan, Enfield, Grafton, Lebanon and Hanover fire departments responded to the blaze, but, by the time firefighters arrived, there was little they could do.
The damage was so complete that officials likely will not be able to determine a cause, Bellion said, though the fire is not considered suspicious.
“There’s nothing we’re going to be able to find,” Bellion said.
Half of the mobile home had all but vanished; the other half was reduced to a frame, and a caved-in roof.
There were no heating or cooking appliances in use at the time, Bellion said.
The residents, Nicholas Brown, 24, and Railyn Coleman-Moncrieff, 23, both Canaan natives, and McKenna Marshall, 18, huddled with officials from the American Red Cross inside the Canaan Fire Station yesterday morning. They rented the home from a nearby landlord.
In an interview, Brown said it could have been even worse.
Brown said he was sleeping in his bedroom and woke up smelling smoke. He walked into the living room, and saw fire in the other bedroom. Coleman-Moncrieff and Marshall usually share that bedroom, but had fallen asleep in the living room watching television.
They all darted from their home without grabbing any possessions. Brown was barefoot, in shorts and a T-shirt, while meeting with the Red Cross.
“By the time I got back, the whole place was engulfed,” Brown said. “We were lucky to get out. They should have been in the bedroom.”
All three were planning to stay with friends and family yesterday, Brown said.
Brown’s car, which was parked close to the trailer, also was destroyed: The flames melted most of the front end off.
Bellion said it was unclear if the home had working smoke detectors: The residents said they do not remember hearing detectors, but Bellion said it was unclear if that was due to the panic of their hurried exit from the home.
“It could just be the confusion,” Bellion said.
The home was constructed in the 1970s, Bellion said.
Yesterday morning’s fire continued a busy year for the Canaan Fire Department, which has responded to four major house fires since January.
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304.