By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
TILTON — A fast-moving fire on Hill Road early Wednesday morning left five adults, three children, a dog and a cat temporarily homeless, said Tilton-Northfield Fire Deputy Tim Joubert.
Joubert said the blaze was caused by the improper disposal of smoking material and began outside the home near the side entrance. He said it burned up the side of the house and was slowed in its spread to the interior by a steel door.
"The fire damage was contained to the outside," said Joubert, who added that the house is fixable but will need a professional cleaning because there is smoke damage throughout.
Joubert said the electricity and the gas were shut off to the home and officials believe that the electrical system was compromised.
"Until it is inspected and fixed, the family will not be able to stay there," he said.
Joubert said one of the people in the home was quite elderly and suffered from some serious medical conditions which made it difficult for the other people in the home to to get this person out. All were outside when firefighters arrived, except the cat, which was found safe under one of the beds in a bedroom.
He said two of the adults were were taken to the hospital because both suffered from smoke inhalation and one had some burns. He said the two tried to put out the fire using a fire extinguisher and some snow.
Their actions, plus the actions of a Tilton Police officer who also discharged a fire extinguisher, helped slow the fire enough such that it was quickly extinguished by firefighters.
Joubert said Hill Road is in Lochmere and is fairly remote from the fire station in Tilton. He said a fire in that area brings an automatic response from Laconia and Belmont, but he went to a first alarm that added Sanbornton and Franklin to the response crews. He said Gilmanton and New Hampton provided station coverage.
He added that because of the falling snow, response equipment encountered some slippery roads.
The Red Cross reports that volunteers have meet with the residents and ensured all have a safe place to sleep, food, clothing and other essentials.
Smoking materials are believed to have started this fire at a Tilton home. While damage was done primarily to the outside of the house, the family is unable to stay there until the electrical system is fixed. (Courtesy Tilton-Northfield Fire Department)