Birch Hill Drive

A fire at 17 Birch Hill Drive in Methuen displaced a couple who has lived there for 18 years. Almost exactly a year ago, fire fighters were called to the same address for a fire sparked by solar panels.

METHUEN – The owners of 17 Birch Hill Drive watched Monday morning as their home burned for the second time in a year.

David Myers and his wife, Paula Donovan Myers, were both upset but physically uninjured as they awaited information across the street from the active scene about 10 a.m.

“I just can’t believe this is happening again,” Myers said.

He explained that a year ago – during the first days of the pandemic – solar panels on the couple’s roof caught fire. Massive repairs took about six months, he said.

Monday morning, the husband and wife were both out running separate errands. Donovan Myers had just dropped the family’s cat off at a veterinarian in Newburyport when she returned home first.

“She couldn't get the garage door to open so she called me,” Myers said. “I was in Salem, New Hampshire, so I came right home to see what was wrong.”

He said at that point, black smoke was seeping from the living room windows directly above the driveway.

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Toto said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Methuen firefighters accompanied by members of the Salem, New Hampshire, Fire Department controlled the situation in about an hour. Toto said the home is uninhabitable until major repairs are made.

“There was heavy fire and a lot of smoke, mostly on the right side,” Toto said.

He said crews chased some hot-spots and dealt with fire consuming the floors in places.

“There’s a hole that goes right through the living room floor to the garage,” he said.

The couple has lived in the house for 18 years, since it was built, according to Myers.

Toto said one firefighter was injured by broken glass during the response and required stitches to his hand.

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