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One Displaced After Windsor House Fire

Fire Dept. Says Nighttime Blaze Started on Stove in Route 5 Home

Windsor — One woman was displaced after flames tore through her Route 5 home Sunday night.

Just after 9:15 p.m., the Windsor Fire Department responded and saw “active fire” coming from the back corner of the two-bedroom home, said Windsor Fire Chief Mark Kirko.

“We stretched our second hand line through the front door and immediately went up stairs with it because we knew that we had fire already up in the attic space,” Kirko said, noting crews also immediately knocked down flames in the kitchen area.

The woman who lived inside the home, as well as the homeowner, declined to comment on Monday. The woman was unharmed in the fire and is being assisted by the American Red Cross .

Kirko said the fire was believed to have started in the kitchen on the stove.

“I’m not sure if it was food or an accidental item on the stove that ignited,” Kirko said. “(The woman) claims that she tried to put it out by smothering it and it just grew when she tried to put it out, so she tried again using a blanket to smother everything and it just kind of grew out of her control.”

Late Sunday, a string of emergency vehicles had parked along Route 5, their lights illuminating a dark section of the road. Police closed off a section of the road and diverted southbound drivers back to Interstate 91.

Much of the house’s exterior was charred, and flames periodically pushed out of the attic Sunday night. A firefighter on a ladder wrestled a satellite dish from the side of the building, before opening a hole in the attic with a pick axe.

On Monday morning, a handful of chickens were moseying about in a pen that was positioned just feet from a heavily charred corner of the home. None of the chickens were harmed in the blaze, nor were the horses that remained in a stable outside .

Three dogs escaped unharmed, but seven cats were believed to have perished, Kirko said.

He said the home was covered by insurance, but it was not yet determined how much of the damage would be covered under the policy. Kirko said the house could be “a total loss.”

On Monday, Kirko was seen shutting a door to the home to prevent entry .

Two Red Cross volunteers responded shortly before midnight Sunday and were able to provide shelter for the woman and her dogs for three nights, said Doug Bishop, communications director for the Upper Valley Branch of the Red Cross.

In addition, the agency provided the woman with financial assistance for food and clothing essentials.

“The goal behind that is to give someone temporary relief while they get their bearings,” Bishop said. “The assistance we provide is without cost to those we serve.”

The Windsor Fire Department, along with four neighboring districts, called the fire under control just after midnight.

Windsor’s fire hydrants do not extend to the home’s location, Kirko said, which resulted in the department calling for additional assistance.

He said a water supply line was set up at hydrants at the Harpoon Brewery and tanker trucks shuttled back and forth. Nearly 6,000 gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire.

The only other hang-up — water aside — Kirko said, was the building’s construction. He said there were multiple layers of roofing and wall covering.

“It’s very time consuming work when you have to cut through three or four layers,” Kirko said. “(It’s) very hard to reach in there and get to the fire.”

Valley News Staff Writer Jon Wolper contributed to this report. Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.