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December 12, 2012

Antiques stored in 160-year-old home destroyed by fire

Cause of blaze may have been electrical

METHUEN — A 160-year-old house with rooms full of antiques was destroyed in a two-alarm fire yesterday afternoon.

The house at 510 Prospect St. is owned by Paul and Denis Webster-Greene, who own Webster Greene Antique shop on Broadway. They were not home when the fire started about 2:30 p.m.

Denis Webster-Greene said they lost a lot of antiques, many from the business, that were stored in the house

“Our house was full of antiques,” he said. “But the important thing is everyone is alive. Even though we can’t replace all the antiques, life goes on.”

Fire Chief Steven Buote said yesterday evening that the cause was under investigation, but that it initially appeared to be electrical. Firefighters arrived and found much of the first floor engulfed, with fire billowing out a couple of windows.

“They knocked it down pretty quickly and it looked like it would have been a good stop, but it got into the walls and was breaking out in the second floor and attic area,” Buote said. “It moved too rapidly before they arrived.”

There were no injuries to firefighters reported.

The fire spread to the eaves and roof on the south side of the house, and then to the main gable. Flames would pop up again several minutes after being sprayed down. Firefighters spent nearly two hours working on the roof, eventually sawing into it in order to spray. Buote said the top floor is a small crawlspace attic with limited access.

The Webster-Greenes are staying with friends.

Webster-Greene said the house was built in the 1840s. There was an addition on the back that connected the main house to a carriage house or barn in the rear. Buote said there was minor damage to the addition and no damage to the carriage house.

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