Published Date Written by Gail OberMOULTONBOROUGH — N.H. State Fire Marshals continue to investigate an explosion that leveled a home off Route 25 early Wednesday morning and shook the area for miles around.
Police Chief Leonard Weatherbee said the first one to arrive at the top of Linda's Way — located on the east shoulder of Red Hill — was an on duty Moultonborough Police officer. He said the officer quickly determined no one was in the house and stayed to assist firefighters.
Weatherbee said he drove to the scene from his home shortly after 3 a.m. He also said Sgt. Peter Beede was home sleeping and responded when he heard the explosion.
"We had no idea what was going on. You could see balls of flames on the side of the hill," Weatherbee said.
The Moultonborough online appraisal service identified the owner as Stephen Vigeault of Marlborough, Mass. Pictures showed the house still has insulation on the outside and one of Vigeault's neighbors said he just finished building the home. The 1,500-square-foot house was built in 2012.
Appraisal records show the house was heated with gas.
Vigeault couldn't be reached for comment.
The neighbor, who didn't want his name used, said the explosion was so loud he thought it came from his house.
"I jumped out of bed and ran around looking to see if it was my furnace," he said, noting his windows were rattling.
Describing the explosion as a "slow rumble" he said he's only previously heard an explosion like that from TNT or gas.
He said his neighbor came to Moultonborough regularly and was fond of snowmobiling. Aside from that, he said he didn't know him well.
Five miles away, John Eichhorn — a detective with the Meredith Police Department — said the explosion woke him from a "dead sleep."
"I really thought it was an earthquake," he said noting his house was shaking.
When he heard the second explosion, he said it was not as loud and, since it was raining, he thought it was a bad thunderstorm.
Pictures from the scene shown on local television stations show wood a debris strewn about the entire building site. Fire Marshal John Southwell told WMUR he has not determined the cause of the explosion.
Associated Press reported that firefighters had limited access to the home, which as a 2,500-foot-long driveway, but they were able to establish a water supply at the intersection of Linda's Way and Rte. 25. Firefighters cleared the scene at 10 a.m.