EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 28, 2014

Windham family escapes fire, but loses home

Windham home destroyed in blaze

By Doug Ireland

---- — WINDHAM — A Meetinghouse Road resident is just happy he and his family are safe after a fire tore through their home early yesterday.

The blaze broke out about 2 a.m., heavily damaging the two-and-a-half-story home at 2 Meetinghouse Road.

Nearly 20 firefighters from five fire departments battled the fire for about an hour before bringing it under control, Windham fire Chief Thomas McPherson said. Two firefighters received minor injuries, but have recovered, he said.

Although the walls are still standing, much of the inside of the home was gutted and personal possessions were destroyed, owner Steve Allan said.

“Everything is gone, nothing is salvageable,” Allan said. “I’m just content to be breathing and walking around.”

Allan, 60, said his wife, Heidi, smelled smoke and quickly got of bed. The couple ran downstairs to find the first floor engulfed in smoke.

“The smoke was so bad, we ran outside,” he said.

Once outside, they called 911 and firefighters arrived within minutes. Allan said the family, which includes his son and daughter-in-law, have lived in the home for 30 years.

“By the time firefighters arrived, there was some heavy fire,” McPherson said.

The fire is believed to have started in a wall behind the sunroom fireplace, Allan said. The sunroom is at the rear of the home. The house is assessed at $85,300, according to town records.

McPherson said yesterday afternoon the fire was under investigation and the cause still being determined.

The flames quickly spread from the first floor, which received heavy damage, to the second floor, McPherson said. The second floor sustained extensive heat and water damage, he said.

Although the blaze was under control by about 3:15 a.m., firefighters remained at the home until about 5 a.m., McPherson said.

A firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and required treatment, McPherson said. Another firefighter slipped on the ice, but didn’t require medical attention, he said.

The American Red Cross was called in to assist the family. Allan said they were staying with a friend and would move to a motel.

Firefighters from Londonderry, Salem, Hudson and Derry helped Windham battle the fire, McPherson said. Pelham and Hampstead provided station coverage.

The Salvation Army provided support to firefighters.

Allan said it was too early to determine if they would be able to return to the burned-out home.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I’m just emotionally exhausted right now.”

Allan has gone through some trying times during his 30 years on Meetinghouse Road

Several years, blasting for a Ledge Road industrial park disrupted the neighborhood. Allan and his neighbors said the blasting broke windows, cracked floors and foundations, and affected well water.