EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 6, 2013

Smoky fire causes scare in Derry

By Doug Ireland

---- — DERRY — Tenants of a Fordway apartment building received a scare yesterday when a paver’s torch sparked a fire in their basement.

Smoke filled the basement at 15 Fordway at about 1:30 p.m. when heat from the torch ignited siding, leading to a fire inside a wall of the two-story building, according to Battalion Chief Michael Doyle of the Derry Fire Department.

Doyle said a worker was using the torch to heat asphalt while paving the driveway when the fire broke out. The paving company’s name was not available.

A tenant called 911, bringing police and six Fire Department vehicles.

Police blocked off both ends of Fordway while firefighters extinguished the fire within minutes. Siding had to be removed to reach the fire, Doyle said.

Four people, including ReyDel Veenstra, live in the two-unit building. Only Veenstra, 31, and another tenant were home at the time.

“The basement filled up with smoke and then it filled the house with smoke,” Veenstra said.

No one was injured, and the tenants were allowed to return home. Fire crews remained at the scene until about 2:15 p.m.

Town tax records show the building is owned by Josephine Panella.