ALTON — A family of three is homeless after a fire destroyed their home at 1301 Mount Major Highway early Wednesday morning.
Fire Chief Scott Williams said there were two fires in the home early in the morning. He said firefighters were called to the home at 12:28 a.m. for what Williams described as a mattress fire in one of the bedrooms.
He said the male resident of the house was watching television and his wife was in the bedroom when she started screaming, "Fire."
Williams said the family tried unsuccessfully to put it out but called 9-1-1 and evacuated the home. He said the family also has a dog and a cat that also made it out.
Firefighters from Alton and Gilford arrived and Williams said a first-alarm was called but almost immediately canceled. He said firefighters extinguished mattress and the family said it would stay with friends.
"We have fire imaging cameras," William said. "We were really comfortable (knowing) the fire was out."
He said firefighters remained at the home for about two hours and, because the home is about 10 feet from the road, he said police closed the road for about two hours.
At 4:30 a.m. firefighters were called back to the house and found it completely engulfed in flames. Williams said the house was a total loss. The animals perished in the second fire.
Firefighters from Alton, Gilford, Gilmanton, and Barnstead fought the blaze and New Durham firefighters covered Alton stations.
The road was closed for a number of hours and traffic was diverted.
N.H. Fire Marshal Thomas Riley said yesterday his initial investigation shows the second fire was accidental and likely electrical in nature.
Williams said the mattress fire could have been caused by smoking material but was leaving the investigation to the fire marshal.
CUTLINE: ALTON FIRE - A house at 1301 Mount Major Highway was destroyed by two separate fires that occurred within four hours of each other early Wednesday morning. A dog and a cat were killed in the second blaze. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 11:52
CONCORD — The field of Republican candidates for the Executive Council seat in District 1 grew to three as Joe Kenney of Wakefield and Mark Aldrich of Lebanon entered the race, joining Christopher Boothby of Meredith, who was the first to file.
Kenney served in the New Hampshire Legislature for 14 years between 1994 and 2008, four terms in the House and three in the Senate, before mounting an unsuccessful campaign for governor against incumbent Democrat John Lynch, who was re-elected his third term by a margin of more than two-to-one. He served 34 years in the United States Marine Corps, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, and is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War as well as of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
No stranger to politics, Aldrich was a congressional aide and state director for both United States Senator Gordon Humphrey and Congressman Bob Smith for two decades, whose responsibilities included fostering economic development in the North Country. After leaving Smith's staff he worked as a business consultant and served stint as economic development director for the city of Claremont before retiring.
Michael Cryans of Lebanon, who has served on the Grafton County Commission for the past 16 years, is the lone Democrat to have filed. Mark Hounsell of Conway, who served two terms in the state senate as a Republican but has since become a Democrat, has indicated that he is likely to run for the seat.
The district sprawls across two-thirds of the land area of the state, reaches into six of its ten counties — Coos, Carroll, Grafton, Belknap, Strafford and Merrimack — and includes four of its 13 cites — Laconia, Berlin Claremont and Lebanon — 101 of its 221 towns and 19 of its 25 unincorporated places.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 11:49
LACONIA — Cafua Management Company, LLC, the Dunkin' Donuts franchise holder that owns the historic Hathaway House at 1106 Union Avenue, yesterday formally applied for a demolition permit to raze the historic Victorian mansion.
"It doesn't surprise me," said Pam Clark who chairs the Heritage Commission, which has led an effort to preserve the building. Greg Nolan, director of development at Cafua, began distributing applications to the appropriate city departments in September. The process requires applications, which can be downloaded from the city website, to be signed by officials of the Department of Public Works, Water Department, Fire Department and Planning Department as well as the gas and electric utilities servicing the property then submitted to the Code Enforcement officer.
Since the Hathaway House is more than 700-square-feet in area and 75 or more years old, as well as visible from a public right-of-way, the application, once complete, must also be presented to the Heritage Commission for review. Clark said yesterday that the commission will consider the application at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, December 11. She expected the commission would authorize her to decline to endorse the application for a demolition permit and instead schedule a public hearing in an effort to preserve the building.
Once the commission schedules a public hearing, the owner is required by ordinance to post a sign to that effect, along with the date, time and place of the hearing, on the building in plain sight. Should the public hearing close without agreement on an alternative to demolition, the Heritage Commission shall meet with the owner within 10 days to seek agreement on an alternative. Without an agreement to preserve the building, the owner may proceed with demolition while the Heritage Commission, with the consent of the owner, shall photograph and document the building as well as encourage the owner to salvage any of its important architectural features.
Concern for the future of the Hathaway House was first aroused in 2008 when Cafua, which acquired the property in 2000, proposed demolishing the house and constructing a Dunkin' Donuts store and strip mall on the site. However, after a series of meetings with city officials and concerned citizens, Cafua agreed to preserve the Hathaway House and build the Dunkin' Donuts outlet on the remaining 0.75-acre parcel.
When the project was approved, Nolan assured the Planning Board that the Hathaway House would be repainted as well as fitted with a fire alarm and fire suppression system. He said the company had no plans for the building other than to preserve it. Two years later the building, which had not been painted or improved, was offered for sale or lease. At the time Nolan assured the Planning Department "there will be a condition that the house cannot be scrapped." He repeated that he intended to paint the building, but conceded that the work had yet to be scheduled.
While the building went without paint, improvement or repair, its champions charged Cafua with "demolition by neglect." Repeated requests for an explanation of the company's plans for the property went unanswered.
In October, concern mounted when a work crew arrived to remove asbestos from the building and board up its windows, prompting members of the Heritage Commission to begin picketing the property and boycotting Dunkin' Donuts in protest. At the same time, the picketeers have advertised in local newspapers explaining their action and encouraging the public to join the boycott by listing other coffee shops in the city.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 11:45
LACONIA - A Bristol man was convicted by a jury in Belknap County Superior Court yesterday of welfare fraud - a class A felony.
Christopher Boisvert was found guilty of aiding and abetting a Belknap County woman of receiving $7,000 in benefits from the state of New Hampshire between December of 2010 and February of 2012.
Belknap County Attorney Melissa Countway Guldbrandsen said $3,000 of the benefits were cash and $3,000 were medical services.
He had previously told the Department of Health and Human Services he was homeless during that period of time when he was seen regularly at the address of a woman. Charged in the Second Circuit Court, Plymouth Division with an unrelated crime, Boisvert also used the same woman's address for getting his court paperwork.
Guldbrandsen said Boisvert "took advantage of the welfare system for over a year at the expense of the taxpayer."
She said her office takes these cases seriously and the female who was unnamed in her media release is also being held at the Belknap County House of Corrections pending sentencing.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 11:11
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