LACONIA — A city police officer on routine patrol along upper Messer Street averted what could have been a building fire along the south shore of Lake Opechee, behind the former Irving Oil Company office building, when he smelled smoke yesterday morning and began to investigate.
Firefighters and police converged on the small warehouse just after 11 a.m. and removed what appeared to be a stack of burning wood that was about two-feet square along with a can of gasoline. After extinguishing the fire, firefighters opened the overhead door and began to disperse the smoke.
"This is definitely a suspicious fire," said Erickson.
The storage building is near the water on the Lake Opechee side of the WOW Trail. The back of the building is covered in graffiti and the surrounding dirt grounds are strewn with broken glass. On one side of the building there appears to be a hole in the wall that would allow unlawful access to it.
Police at the scene walked down both sides of the WOW Trail and interviewed people who may have seen something while firefighters extinguished the small fire.
Erickson noted the fire department was pretty lucky that the officer smelled the smoke when he did. He said with all the construction on Union Avenue and most of the traffic rerouted through Messer Street, it would have been a traffic nightmare if the Fire Department had had to extinguish a large fire in the area and close down Messer Street during that time of day.
Police and Fire officials continue to investigate. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.
CUTLINE: (Fire on Messer Street) Police and firefighters converge on a warehouse yesterday around 11 a.m. near Lake Opechee on Messer Street after extinguishing a suspicious fire. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)