Fire at Titeflex damages high temp treatment machine

03-04 Titeflex fire

A fire in a heat-treating process area on the back site of the Titeflex Aerospace building at 6:35 a.m. Friday triggered a first-alarm response that brought firefighter from the city as well as surrounding companies to cover Laconia to the O'Shea Industrial Park.

When firefighters arrived, the met with an employee who told them he thought the fire had been extinguished but when a firefighter entered the room he found heavy, black smoke and fire burning about 10 feet of the ground.

The captain called for a first alarm and firefighters laid hose lines into the building and knocked down the fire.

Chief Ken Erickson said the building is a 550-foot by 200-foot one story industrial steel facility and it took a long time to get the smoke out of the building.

He said the fire started in a exhaust duct and spread into a dryer/dust collector. It didn't trigger any sprinklers but when employees were enable to extinguish the blaze the pulled the alarm.

Erickson said the damage to the machine is fairly extensive.

Gilford voters to weigh in on $2.4M elementary school bond Tuesday


GILFORD — When voters go to the polls on Thursday, they will be asked to weigh in on a proposed $2.4 million bond to rehab the mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems for the elementary school.

The board had also talked about doing the repairs over a five-year time period but decided 4-to-1 to complete the repairs on one year to lessen the disruption to the students and to ensure all of the systems would be interconnected and so contractors wouldn't have to retrofit things from year to year.

The Budget Committee doesn't support Article 2 because while its members support some kind of renovation, they would prefer to see it done over five years and cost less money.

Former police sergeant accused of rape out on bail


DOVER — Accused rapist and former Belknap County Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Ernest Justin Blanchette has posted bail, according to a sergeant at the Strafford County House of Corrections.

Blanchette, 36, had been held there after Judge James O'Neill set bail at $100,000 cash or $400,000 corporate surety. It is unclear how bail was posted or who posted it. O'Neill denied Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen's request for a source of funds hearing should he post it.

Blanchette was a sergeant with the sheriff's department until he resigned in August after being placed on paid administrative leave in the beginning of July.

Sheriff Craig Wiggin has since disclosed Blanchette resigned in the face of being fired.

Blanchette was indicted by a North Hillsborough County grand jury in October of 2015 for one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault on a female prisoner he was transporting from Belknap County to the State Prison for Women in Goffstown. His trial date is set for late April.

After a secret grand jury indictment on Feb. 19, Blanchette was arrested by police while he was at the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division, for a civil matter and arraigned later that day in the Belknap County Superior Court on eight additional aggravated felonious assault charges and one felonious sexual assault charge. Accusations include rapes involving the same victim as in Hillsborough County, one additional female victim, and a series of charges that he had prisoners he was transporting engage in sexual acts with each other.