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Dog saves family from fire in Claremont home with no working smoke alarms

  • Heavy fire damage is seen in the rear of a home on Chestnut Street in Claremont, N.H., on Monday, May 20, 2019. The fire the night before injured two adults with smoke inhalation and killed two pet goats. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Fire damage is seen on the front door of a home on Chestnut Street in Claremont, N.H., on Monday, May 20, 2019. The building had no working smoke alarms when a fire broke out the night before, according to the Claremont Fire Chief. A pet dog alerted the family, and they were able to escape. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • A fire hydrant directly across the street from the home on Chestnut Street made water supply easier, according to Claremont Fire Chief Bryan Burr, in Claremont, N.H., on Monday, May 20, 2019. Mutual aid was also called in from Newport, Ascutney and Cornish to put out the late-night fire. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Monday, May 20, 2019

CLAREMONT — A family escaped a fast moving fire in their Chestnut Street home late Sunday night thanks to their dog, Nalah, who alerted the occupants to the smoke and flames, fire officials said.

Homeowner Corey Jones and his girlfriend, Brandy Cheney, suffered smoke inhalation and were being treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Monday, Corey’s father, Chuck Jones, said Monday afternoon standing outside the gutted, two-story Cape at 441 Chestnut St. Jones said his son and Cheney will both be OK, but he was not sure when they would be released from the hospital.

A third occupant, a young boy, was not injured.

“Nalah woke them up about 11,” Jones said about the family’s German shepherd. “If she wasn’t barking and going crazy, then it could have been worse.”

Both Nalah and another dog, Rex, survived but two pet goats perished.

Claremont Fire Chief Bryan Burr said in a news release the initial call came in just before 11 p.m. and first crews on the scene reported “heavy fire from the back of the building.”

“The initial responding crew worked to contain the fire to the back portion of the building,” Burr said. “The fire had extended throughout the first-floor interior portions of the building. The second-floor sustained heat and smoke damage.”

He said the family was sleeping in the second floor bedrooms when the fire broke out. Cheney suffered a cut on her hand getting out of the house.

Jones said on Monday he walked through the house and said the kitchen and most of the first floor was destroyed by the flames. He believes the home, which was insured, will be a total loss. The most severe damage could be seen from the back of the house where the entire area was blackened.

A fire hydrant in front of the house gave firefighters a steady water supply to douse the flames, Burr said.

The fire was declared under control just before 11:30 p.m.

Burr said the cause of the fire is under investigation but it is not considered suspicious.

The home had no working smoke alarms, something that every homeowner should make a priority, Burr said.

“Working smoke alarms are an important safety component in all homes giving everyone inside valuable time to escape,” Burr said.

Corey Jones bought the property in August 2017. It is currently assessed at $118,400, according to the city’s assessing records.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com