Gilford officer saves elderly couple from fire

GILFORD – A police officer saved the lives of two elderly people Sunday night when he broke down the door of their burning home on Old Lakeshore Road and carried them both to safety.

Patrol Officer Curtis Mailloux said he was in his cruiser about a mile or two away when he heard the call come for a building fire at 93 Old Lakeshore Road.

He said he was the first one there and saw heavy smoke pouring from the eaves of the one-story home and didn't see anybody standing outside.

Mailloux said he knocked on the front windows and the door but no one answered. When he looked in one of the windows he saw a man standing inside so he kicked in the front door and went to Jim Gray who was trying to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher.

The officer said yesterday he got Mr. Gray out of the house and put him in the front yard.

Mailloux said Mr. Gray told him his wife was in a different part of the house so he went back in and saw her standing behind a sliding glass door. He said he opened the slider and carried her through the front door as well.

"I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time," Mailloux said.

Mailloux said he didn't do anything that any of his brother or sister police officers wouldn't have done.

"I just acted," he said.

When asked if he was feeling the effects of the smoke while he was in the house, he said that events happened so quickly that he didn't but said he was coughing when he brought Mrs. Gray outside.

All three were taken by ambulance from Gilford and Laconia to Lakes Region General Hospital for evaluation.

"It was a great feeling," he said, describing how he felt when he saw the elderly couple in the emergency room.

"It was a scary situation," he said noting that there was a quick response by the fire department and they were able to help Mr. and Mrs. Gray.

Fire Chief Stephen Carrier said the fire was likely caused by a wood stove that was too close to some beams.

"It was likely smoldering for some time," Carrier said.

He said the home had been enlarged several times and there were multiple roofs on it, making the fire difficult to extinguish. He said the living room was burned and there was smoke and water damage throughout the residence, but the home is repairable.

Carrier said firefighters who responded were already at another call and responded from there. He said with the roads being so slippery, it took about 10 minutes to arrive on the scene.

"I think they got there just about the time Curtis was bringing Mrs. Gray out of the house," he said.

Carrier said the home was equipped with working smoke detectors and the batteries had been replaced as part of the Gilford Fire Department's Senior Safety Day, which is when firefighters come free of charge to seniors' homes and change the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

One of Mr. Gray's sons was at the family business yesterday afternoon and said he was very grateful for Mailloux's quick thinking.

He said his father doesn't hear very well, and it was his mother who heard the smoke detector and woke up his Dad.

"I'm just very grateful," he said.

The Grays are staying with family members.

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Berwick, Maine ice fisherman wins 36th Annual Great Rotary Derby

MEREDITH — Rodney Rondeau, a carpenter from Berwick, Maine, who has been fishing in the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby for 20 years, was the winner of the $15,000 first-place prize in the 36th annual derby with a 4.46 pound rainbow trout that he landed around 12:30 Sunday afternoon on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Rondeau was less-than-specific on the exact spot where he landed his winning fish, venturing only that it was from the Wolfeboro area.

He said that over the years he's placed some of his catches on the leader board for small prizes but that this year's catch was the best he's ever pulled through the ice in the derby.

Second-place prize of $5,000 went to James Lizotte of Dunbarton, who landed a 4.8 pound rainbow trout on Saturday, the largest Rainbow landed over the weekend.

Third prize of $3,000 went to Gerald Miller of Bristol, who landed a 1.88 pound yellow perch on Sunday.

The names of the winners were drawn for the third straight year by Gov. Maggie Hassan, who said that she enjoys the festive atmosphere of the derby and learns new things about ice fishing by visiting with people in the bob houses on Meredith Bay.

Largest fish landed over the weekend was a 13.83 lake trout that Don Savage of Tilton brought in on Saturday.

Derby Chairman Craig Wiggin, who is the Belknap County Sheriff, said that the whole weekend was a major success with entries estimated at over 5,000 and lots of large fish being put on the leader board.

In its 36 years the Derby has raised nearly $1.8 million for the Meredith Rotary Club's civic projects and scholarships.

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Man who set stolen Volvo on fire to serve 1 1/2 to 6 years in prison

LACONIA — A former Tilton man who was charged by police in Laconia for receiving stolen property (a Volvo C70), resisting arrest and disobeying a police officer pleaded guilty last week in the Belknap County Superior Court.

Corey Cromwell, 26, also pleaded guilty to one court of arson, lodged by Gilford Police, for burning the car he allegedly stole shortly after he encountered Laconia Police and ran from them.

Cromwell was first spotted during the morning of September 28 by Belmont Police who found him behind the wheel of a car that was out of gas. The officer checked Cromwell's drivers license, which was valid, and the car plates came back okay so he let a friend of Cromwell's come to his assistance with some fuel.

When the Belmont officer returned to the station and investigated further, he learned that the license plate belonged to a different car and sent out alerts to keep a look out for Cromwell and the car.

A Laconia Police sergeant saw the car near Sacred Heart Church on Gilford Avenue shortly after hearing the alert and tried to stop Cromwell who fled from the scene at a high rate of speed. Because of the high speeds, the sergeant chose not to pursue him.

A few hours after that, Gilford Fire Chief Steve Carrier was hiking when he saw fire coming from the woods in Gilford and notified his department.

Police and Fire responded and learned it was the same car reported earlier by Belmont and Laconia. Cromwell was no where to be found and the car was destroyed.

On October 13, Tilton Police detained Cromwell when one of his friends was caught shoplifting at Walmart. Although Cromwell had no involvement in the shoplifting, police held him on Laconia's outstanding warrants.

Cromwell was sentenced to serve 1 1/2 to 6 years for the arson charge, 1 1/2 to 6 years for the receiving stolen property — to be served consecutively — and two suspended six month suspended sentences for disobeying an order and resisting arrest.

He was credited with 112 days of pretrial confinement.

City's Zoning Task Force alarmed by misinformation about medical pot dispensaries

LACONIA — Members of the city's Zoning Task Force say that there is a lot of misinformation being circulated regarding a proposed ordinance to regulate the location of a medical marijuana dispensary in the city.
''I've seen blogs with a lot of misinformation. It's very misleading. We're not trying to attract marijuana businesses,'' city Planner Shanna Saunders told members of the task force when they met Thursday morning at City Hall.
She said that the city actually has no say on whether a dispensary will be located in the city and that the proposed ordinance needs to be moved quickly before a state approved facilities become grandfathered.
''People should be happy we're doing this. We're not trying to attract a dispensary. We're trying to allow people of the city to decide where it should be located,'' said Planning Board Chairman Warren Hutchins, a member of the task force.
He said that it would be important for Saunders to give a presentation at the start of public hearing by the Planning Board and Zoning Task Force on the proposed ordinance on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at City Hall which begins at 6:30 p.m. in order to dispel misconceptions by pointing out that there is no application for a dispensary coming before the city.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to operate Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) in four geographic zones, one of which consists of Belknap, Strafford and Rockingham counties in accordance with a statute authorizing the use of the drug to treat a specified number of medical conditions. Each ATC would be licensed to dispense and cultivate marijuana, as well as process the plant into edible products. With the support of DHHS, legislation (Senate Bill 22) has been introduced that would enable each licensed dispensary, with the approval of the department, to operate one satellite facility, which could only dispense, not cultivate or process, marijuana.
DHHS has issued 70 pages of rules regulating the ownership and operation of the facilities, but where and when such a facility could operate are questions for the city to address.
Saunders has suggested that rather than propose different regulations for dispensing, cultivating and processing, that the same regulation apply to all three.
She recommended that ATCs be confined to the Industrial Park, Industrial and Airport Industrial districts and prohibited elsewhere. The Industrial Park District refers to the O'Shea Industrial Park on Lexington Drive. There are three Industrial Districts in downtown, two beyond the south end and another near the north end of Union Avenue. The Airport Industrial District lies east of White Oaks Road and borders the Gilford town line. ATCs would be prohibited in residential districts and within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers and places of worship. The dispensaries would be allowed to operate between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Eric Borrin of DHHS said that the department received 14 applications to operate ATCs before the period for responding to the request for proposals closed last week. He said that at least one application has been received for each of the four geographic areas, but declined to specify how many applications were submitted for each area. The RFP prescribes that the applications — and the identity of the applicants — will remain confidential until 10 days after the successful applicants have been notified.