MOULTONBOROUGH – A two-alarm fire that killed two dogs and five birds at a home on Route 25 Saturday night was caused by a malfunctioning gas grill according to Fire Chief David Bengston.
"It was started by a gas grill on the back porch. The couple were getting ready to cook and had problems with the grill and the fire extended to the house,'' said Bengston.
He said that the fire at 768 Whittier Highway was reported at 6:08 p.m. by the owners, Terrance Jatko and Shirley-Ellen Dale, who told the first responders at the scene that no one was inside the home but animals were still inside.
Firefighters were able to rescue three dogs who were downstairs but were unable to reach the five birds and two dogs on the second floor of the building because flames had spread rapidly.
Bengston said that firefighters were able to contain the fire but not before it burned through a portion of the roof. He said the building is uninhabitable but not a total loss and it will be up to the insurance company and the owners to decide what course to follow.
During the fire traffic was rerouted around Rte. 25, which was closed for about three hours.
American Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers met with the couple displaced by the fire to ensure they had a safe place to sleep with food, clothing and other essentials.
Moultonborough firefighters were assisted by fire crews from West Ossipee, Ashland, Center Harbor, Holderness, Sandwich, Tamworth and Tuftonboro.
Weirs Engine 5 from Laconia covered Center Harbor while firefighters from that town were assisting Moultonborough at the scene.
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