Overheated burner causes fire on Fair Street

LACONIA – A two-alarm fire at a house on the corner of Clay and Fair streets Saturday morning was apparently started by a stove burner.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said yesterday that a tenant in the rear apartment of 37 Fair St. was heating water on an electric stove but had put the pan of water on one of the unheated burners.

He said the "on" burner continued to heat and melted the wires in the control panel which started a fire. He said the fire burned upward and ignited the cabinets which in turn ignited the combustible ceiling tile in the kitchen.

The fire spread laterally across the ceiling, Erickson said, and began to burn into the wall and attic.

On-duty supervisor Capt. Bob Landry called for a first-alarm because of the number of calls emergency officials fielded regarding the fire and called for a second alarm when he saw smoke coming from the eaves of the house.

Erickson said firefighters knocked down the fire almost immediately and opened the ceiling to cut off any fire extension into the rest of the home. He said the owner lives in the front apartment facing Fair Street and her portion of the home was relatively undamaged.

Overall the chief estimated the blaze to have done about $30,000 in damage, but acknowledged the number could be on the low side.

He said everyone in the home was able to get out without injury.

One Belmont firefighter suffered a broken finger while working in the cellar.

Erickson said structures in city's South End are old wood construction and the houses are very close to each other. He said fires in the area, on windy and dry days like Saturday, run a high risk of quickly spreading to surrounding buildings.

He also said the department wasn't on any other calls when the fire was reported at 9:05 a.m. and they were able to respond with six firefighters within minutes. Firefighters cleared the area at 10:30 a.m.

Erickson said firefighters from Gilford, Belmont and Tilton-Northfield assisted at the scene and other communities were called to either help on Fair Street or cover the rest of the city.

CUTLINE - (Fair Street fire) Fire hoses stretch into the Clay Street side of a two-family home Saturday morning. Firefighters extinguished the two alarm blaze that started on a stove that was reported at 9:05 a.m.