Sunday Meredith home fire started in kitchen

MEREDITH — Fire swept and crept through a two-story cape with an ell and attached barn at 133 Main Street, a half-mile from the fire station, on Sunday afternoon, leaving what Deputy Fire Chief Andre Kloetz called "significant damage" in its wake.

Kloetz said that fire was reported at 4:05 p.m. by the owners, Jane and Joseph Scattergood, when they smelt and saw smoke coming from the kitchen. Together with their two dogs the couple escaped the fire, but were unable to find their cat. Only after the fire was well under control did firefighters find the cat, alive and well, hunkering beneath debris in a room on the first floor of the ell.

Firefighters arrived to find flame and smoke breaching the roof as the fire had quickly jumped through the kitchen ceiling to the second floor and begun to spread into the ell and barn. They entered the home and broke the windows to forestall the rising temperature of the fire. "The fire was all fought on the inside," Kloetz said, explaining that as fire spread into concealed areas, most full of stored materials, it was difficult to reach.

Kloetz said he requested a second alarm to provide sufficient firefighters to relieve those working in trying conditions.Crews from Laconia, Gilford, Center Harbor, New Hampton, Moultonborough, Holderness and Ashland responded. "We got tremendous assistance from the Lakes Region Mutual Aid companies that was much appreciated," he said.

The scene was cleared, Kloetz noted, around 7:30 p.m., three-and-a-half hours after the fire was reported. He said than an initial investigation indicated that the fire may have been ignited by a faulty toaster Despite the extensive damage, he believed that the main structure remained intact and speculated that it could be rebuilt.