EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 31, 2013

State will inspect Common Man after latest fire

Chief estimates 6 responses to Windham restaurant this year

WINDHAM — The Common Man will be looked at by a state electrical inspector after another fire broke out over the weekend.

Fire Chief Thomas McPherson said his department responded to the restaurant for at least the sixth time this year for an electric fire just before 1 p.m. on Saturday. Since then, he announced the restaurant would be closed indefinitely.

“We’ve been there a lot,” McPherson said. “At least two or three times before we’ve had these types of incidents. Right now, our main focus is that prior to reopening, it has full inspection from an electrical standpoint.”

The incident Saturday was the most serious; McPherson declared a two-alarm fire. Firefighters spent almost an hour fighting the blaze before it was under control. No one was injured during the fire.

Derry, Salem, Pelham, Hudson, Hampstead and Londonderry firefighters assisted Windham at the scene. Londonderry and Nashua firefighters provided station coverage.

“This one here took us by surprise,” McPherson said. “We found a breaker had popped and now we’re trying to get to the root of why this happened.”

On June 18, a malfunctioning electrical strip ignited a cabinet, which activated an alarm system and sprinklers.

Then, on July 26, firefighters responded to the 88 Range Road establishment after a ballast in a fluorescent light malfunctioned.

Despite the multiple fires, Common Man Chief Financial Officer Moe Lafreniere said yesterday he did not think there was a problem with the building.

“There are preliminary reports that these fires weren’t connected,” he said.

The building is a two-and-a-half story converted barn, which has been standing since the 1800s.

An exhaust fan in the second floor bathroom was the starting point of the fire, according to Erica Murphy of The Common Man. The bathroom was part of a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2008, she said.

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