Plainfield Home Lost to Fire; Family Displaced

  • Smoke rises from the remains of the home of Donald and Lauren Sharkey on Ferry Hill Road in Plainfield, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Donald Sharkey was transported to the hospital for a possible broken ankle, and no other injuries were reported in the fire that destroyed the house early Tuesday morning. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Plainfield — A family of four lost their Ferry Hill Road home early Tuesday in a blaze that fire officials called “an unbelievable struggle” because of temperatures that plummeted to minus 20 degrees.

Meriden Fire Chief Bill Taylor said the home of the Sharkey family — Donald and Lauren and their two children, ages 10 and 12 — was a total loss following the two-alarm fire, which was first toned out at 12:49 a.m.

Two dogs were lost in the fire, but the family is safe, according to Stephanie Schell, the community resource director for the town of Plainfield.

Donald Sharkey was transported to the hospital for a broken ankle, but no other injuries were reported, Taylor said. Schell on Tuesday afternoon said Sharkey had been released.

The fire is not considered suspicious; Taylor said a candle and a Christmas tree might be to blame. The family said smoke alarms had been installed, but could not recall in the chaos whether they went off during the fire, Taylor said.

The log cabin home was gutted, but a nearby garage was intact. Nobody was at the site, which is off Route 12A just north of Townline Equipment, shortly after noon on Tuesday, but the Sharkeys had found a place to stay.

“The family is doing well. They are surrounded by love and their family,” Schell said. “They have been provided temporary housing, and all critical needs have been met at this time.”

The home was “fully insured,” Schell said, and friends, the school and other community groups have rallied to help the Sharkeys.

“Everyone has come together to meet the needs, emotionally and tangibly,” Schell said.

Assessing records indicate the property was valued at $160,000.

In a phone interview from the Meriden fire station on Tuesday morning, Taylor said he was trying to thaw out two fire trucks in the garage after “we froze every piece of equipment we own” during the blaze.

Another truck was being thawed out across town at the Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department, which also responded, along with Cornish, Lebanon, Windsor and Hartland.

“It was just an unbelievable struggle,” Taylor said. “Twenty (degrees) below zero when you’re trying to apply water is just a nightmare.”

Taylor noted that the departments “made a ton of ice” on the surrounding roads in their efforts and that the town road crews responded to treat those areas.

Valley News staff writers Maggie Cassidy and John P. Gregg contributed to this report.