EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 14, 2013

Lightning suspected in second Windham fire

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie

---- — WINDHAM — Late Thursday night, after firefighters had left the scene of a three-alarm blaze on Hawthorne Road, they were called to another house fire.

Fire officials said they believe a lightning strike was responsible for a two-alarm fire at a home at 10 Forest St.

Calls started coming in just after 11 p.m. Firefighters found heavy fire coming from an attached garage and the top floors and roof of the two-and-a-half-stroy home, fire Chief Thomas McPherson said yesterday.

Initially, neighbors were concerned the homeowners could be inside the burning house, he said, but firefighters could not go in, due to the intensity of the fire and structural concerns. Firefighters later determined the homeowners were not there at the time. No one was injured.

A second alarm was struck to bring more water and firefighters to the scene, he said.

Londonderry, Derry, Salem, Pelham, Hudson, Litchfield and Auburn assisted Windham at the scene, most of whom who had been in Windham earlier in the day for the first structure fire. Nashua and Hampstead provided station covered for Windham Thursday night.

The fire was under control within two hours, McPherson said, but fire personnel remained at the scene throughout the night, wetting down the area and helping with the investigation.

Thunderstorms were still rolling through the area at the time and there were multiple lightning strikes. McPherson said the fire appears to have been caused by lightning, but Deputy Fire Chief William Martineau will lead the investigation into the cause.

The home is owned by the Cummings Family Trust and assessed at $117,200, according to town property records.