A three-alarm house fire broke out in Windham yesterday afternoon as thunderstorms and heavy rain pummeled Southern New Hampshire.
It was the worst incident of many across the county, which included downed trees, power outages, multiple fire and security alarms sounding, and flash flood warnings.
Fire Chief Thomas McPherson said although the cause of the fire at 32 Hawthorne Road has not been determined, it occurred during a strong storm about 12:40 p.m.
Eleven fire departments helped battle the blaze. Three firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion at the scene. The air was thick with humidity.
“We got called out to check for smoke in the area,” McPherson said. “When the storm was rolling in, we had multiple calls coming in. We were at reduced staffing when they showed up at the house. They found that there was heavy fire in the attic and going through the roof.”
Firefighters originally responded to 30 Hawthorne Road after reports of smoke in the area. As personnel arrived at the home and were speaking with a contractor, a Windham police officer directed firefighters next door, where heavy smoke and fire were coming from the top floor of the home and the roof.
McPherson said the house was not a total loss, but there was significant damage. The home is assessed at $302,600. No one was home at the time of the fire.
“There was water and smoke damage throughout the house and heavy fire damage on the top floor,” he said. “But it can be salvaged.”
As of late yesterday afternoon, the fire department had not been able to reach the owners of the house.
Although it’s not yet known if weather was a factor in that fire, lightning strikes were reported throughout the area yesterday afternoon, including in Kingston and Derry.
Lightning hit a power line at 50 Mill Road and traveled inside the home the, damaging the meter box, siding and the stove, Kingston fire Chief William Seaman said.