Basement fire put out quickly in city, two men rescued from smoke


LACONIA — Although caught short-handed, firefighters quickly contained and extinguished a fire that broke out in the basement of a three-story, multi-family dwelling at 63 Gilford Avenue shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday.
Fire Chief Ken Erickson said that when the fire was reported two ambulances from Central Station were responding to medical calls and as firefighters reached the scene an alarm sounded at Hillside Medical Park.
"I was the first one to get here," Erickson said, "and for a moment wondered if anyone else was coming." Almost at once he was joined by Lieutenant Chad Vaillancourt and Firefighter Dwayne Mann and a second alarm soon summoned a number of off-duty firefighters and additional apparatus, including ladder trucks, along with crews from Gilford.
Erickson said the fire began in the basement and spread to the first floor. He said when the firefighters arrived a man on the front porch was struggling with smoke inhalation and another on the second floor was yelling "Get me out of here." Both were brought to safety and one refused treatment while the other was treated at the scene. Firefighters were also administering oxygen to a cat, which also appeared to have an injured leg.
Although the fire appeared to have started in a kitchen, Erickson did not identify its cause or estimate the extent of the damage.

Firefighters respond to fire at 63 Gilford Ave. in Laconia. (Michael Kitch/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Firefighters respond to fire at 63 Gilford Ave. in Laconia. (Michael Kitch/The Laconia Daily Sun)

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When you love your job, it’s not work - Hi Gloss Boat Restoration of Gilford brings the classic old wooden boats back to life


GILFORD — Kevin Buttermore, who purchased Hi Gloss Boat Restoration three years ago, says that he became fascinated with wooden boats when he was worked a paper boy delivering newspaper to the business when it was located on Gold Street in Lakeport in the early 1990s.
"I'd go in and talk to the owner, Scott Hayes, for hours and I got around to asking him for a job when I was 13 or 14 years old," said Buttermore, who worked there several years while in high school and was featured in a newspaper article in 1995 about a boat that he personally restored.
After graduating from Laconia High School in 1999, he worked in a number of retail jobs and was handling mortgages in 2007 when the company he worked for went under.
"My wife and I were looking at moving back to South Carolina when I stopped in to see Scott about doing some work for him. He hired me as a temporary worker, and after that I never looked back. I was working with my hands and it was the most satisfying job I ever had," said Buttermore.
He said Hayes was an excellent teacher who taught him all the finer points of wooden boat restoration.

"I never went to school for this. Scott was my school and I'm thankful for that. He taught me everything he knew and gave me the confidence to take over the business when he decided to sell it. I've got two excellent craftsmen working with me and we're so busy that I'm thinking about setting up an intern program to teach young people boat restoration skills so I can pass on what I've learned," said Buttermore.
Currently he's working on several projects, including restoring an updating a 1938 Chris Craft utility boat , 21-and-a-half feet long, which was kept in storage in South Carolina for over 20 years and was in very poor condition when the owner decided she wanted it restored.
"We trailered it up here, and one of the first things we found out was that the engine needed to be replaced. It's a full restoration from the bottom up and we've been working on it since last July. It's got a brand new bottom and deck and the bridge and seats had to be replaced," he said.
The boat will get a modern Chevy V-6 4.3-liter engine which produces 225 horsepower as its new power plant.
Buttermore said his one of his workers, Evyn Georgiev, is originally from Bulgaria and worked in Spain before coming to the United States. "He's a talented carpenter and even makes guitars."
He said Mark Conway, another worker, had nine years of experience when he hired him, and is an excellent carpenter and mechanic.
"We do everything here except the upholstery," he said.
Two of the boats he's working on will be appearing in this summer's New England Antique and Classic Boat Show, which will be moving from Meredith to Wolfeboro this year, and will take place July 23.
One is a 1930s Chris Craft triple cockpit runabout which was modified in the 1980s to become a gentleman's racer. "We're restoring it and upgrading it to make it a more comfortable boat," he said.
Another boat headed to the show will be a Canadian-built wooden 24-foot Shepherd runabout, which is getting a whole new custom interior and a touch screen navigation system.

"It will have the best of both worlds, classic wood elegance and modern technology," said Buttermore.
Another project is a 1987 26-foot triple-cockpit Hacker Craft, which required major work on its keel and bottom.
"One of the most difficult things is pricing the restoration. You never know what you're going to get into until you start taking the boat apart. Sometimes you find a lot more rot than is visible and need to replace a lot more than you expected," he said.

Kevin Buttermore, foreground, owner of Hi Gloss Boat Restoration of Gilford, and his employees Evyn Georgiev, left, and Mark Conway, right, stand next to a 1938 Chris Craft utility boat they are restoring for a South Carolina owner.
Kevin Buttermore, foreground, owner of Hi Gloss Boat Restoration of Gilford, and his employees Evyn Georgiev, left, and Mark Conway, right, stand next to a 1938 Chris Craft utility boat they are restoring for a South Carolina owner. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Time is short for garage fix

Laconia City Parking Garage

LACONIA — With costs running high and time running short, the future of the downtown parking garage is hamstrung by the complex ownership and prospective sale of a portion of the facility.

The ramps and north end of the second and third levels, including the northernmost stairwell, are owned by the city. The ground floor of the garage, except for the ramps, and the south end of the second and third levels, including the southernmost stairwell, along with seven commercial units on the ground level, are privately owned. The city is responsible for maintaining and repairing the ramps to ensure access to the privately owned parking space. But,, there is no provision in the agreement between the owners that authorizes either one to compel the other to undertake repairs to its portion of the garage.

Downtown Crossing LLC, which owns the private portion of the facility, has entered a purchase and sales agreement to sell its interest, consisting of 36 spaces in the garage and seven commercial spaces beneath it, to Genesis Behavioral Health. The agency would house its administrative and clinical services in the space currently occupied by the Grace Capital Church and lease the remaining commercial spaces.

Dubois & King, Inc. has estimated the cost of structural repairs to the section of the garage owned by the city at $1.8 million, which includes a contingency at 10 percent but not design and engineering costs at 5 percent. The estimated cost of repairing the privately owned portion of the facility is $290,000, which also includes a contingency at 10 percent while excluding 5 percent for design and engineering.

Maggie Pritchard, executive director of Genesis, has advised city officials that her agency would not acquire the property if the city failed to repair the garage and ensure its long-term use.Likewise, city officials have indicated an unwillingness to undertake the repairs without the cooperation of the private owner.

So far, Daniel Disangro of Rosindale, Massachusetts, the principal of Downtown Crossing , LLC has been unwilling either to bear the cost of repairing its portion of the garage or discount the selling price to offset the cost of repairs to Genesis. He has agreed to extend the purchase and sales agreement until Feb. 29.

When the Land and Buildings Committee of the City Council met earlier this week, City Manager Scott Myers explained that the funding for a sale to Genesis is "time sensitive."

Genesis intends to finance its acquisition and conversion with a bond $5.5 million bond issued by the New Hampshire Health and Educational Facilities Authority. Pritchard said the agency will also seek to raise $1.5 million through a capital campaign. The funds must be expended by May 2017. Consequently, for Genesis to complete the renovation and conversion on time, work would have to begin by October.

To add to the urgency, work cannot begin on the privately owned section of the garage before some of the necessary structural repairs on the city-owned portion are complete. Myers said that this would require the city to begin the process of designing the project, preparing the bids and awarding the contract in March with an eye to starting work in July.

Myers suggested convening a meeting of "stakeholders in short order." At the same time, the Land and Buildings Committee, which is chaired by Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) and includes councilors Henry Lipman (Ward 3) and Armand Bolduc (Ward 6), scheduled one meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., and another at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, before the next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council.

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