Dogs, birds die in Moultonborough house fire caused by gas grill

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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Three people hurt in city crosswalks

LACONIA — Police are investigating three incidents in which pedestrians were struck by motor vehicles while crossing city streets, two of whom were hit while in crosswalks.

On Sunday, a 21-year-old woman from Laconia was struck by a white passenger van driven by Robert Mahoney, 44, of South Main Street, in the the crosswalk at Union Avenue and Messer Street. According to police, she entered the crosswalk on a solid walk signal and was struck in the southbound lane of Union Avenue.

The woman was brought to Lakes Region General Hospital with no apparent serious injuries. Police report that neither speed nor alcohol appear to have contributed to the accident, but the investigation is continuing.

At 6:28 a.m. Monday, a pickup truck struck a baby carriage carrying an infant at the intersection of North Main Street and New Salem Street. Police reported that Jessica Caldon of Laconia was within the crosswalk when a Nissan pickup truck driven by Richard Langlois of Laconia hit the carriage and tipped it over, causing the three-month-old infant to fall onto the street. The infant was taken to Lakes region General Hospital for what police described as "minor injuries." A preliminary investigation found that speed and alcohol did not contribute to the accident.

Just hours later, at 10:27 a.m., a man in a wheelchair attempting to cross the entrance to the parking lot between the Belknap Mill and City Hall on Beacon Street East was struck by a trailer being towed by a truck driven by Stephen Vilela of Laconia. Capt. Matt Canfield said the man was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police urge motorists to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks and use caution when driving in congested areas. Police ask anyone who may witnessed any of these three incidents, or have information about them, to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

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Pitman's opens comedy season' with star-studded trio

LACONIA - Pitman's Freight Room in Laconia kicks off it's 2016 comedy season, Saturday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. with a top rated lineup starring Shaun Bedgood, Matt Barry, and Steve Halligan. Tickets are $15 and Pitman's is a BYOB venue.

Bedgood is a top Boston area star and headliner who has appeared at top clubs across the country. He was selected to be one of the comedians in the Comedy Central competitions and has been a finalist in the prestigious Boston Comedy Festival and the New England's Funniest Comic, competition. He was a semifinalist in the NBC Standup Showcase held at Caroline's in New York and opened up for the Last Comic Standing Tour.

"I'm looking forward to getting back up to Laconia" said Bedgood, who first appeared at Pitman's nearly two years ago and received a rousing ovation. "The people were great and the room was an awesome venue for comedy.

"Pitman's is one of those rooms you don't run into very often," added Bedgood. "It's unique in so many different ways. The owners (Dick and Connie Mitchell) are great to deal with, the comedy fans are into it and know what they like, and there aren't many rooms that has a dog that might join you on stage," he said referring to the resident canine, Rory.

Appearing along with Bedgood will be Barry, who was a finalist this year in the New England's Funniest competition. Barry quickly rose through the ranks in Boston's highly competitive comedy scene and is among the most sought feature acts in the region.

Halligan, the night's first comedian, has opened for and shared the stage with some of the best in the business.

"We're hoping 2016 will be as successful as 2015 was," said Pitman's owner Dick Mitchell. "We keep receiving positive comments about the comedy shows and as long as the people keep showing up we will try to give them what they want."

For additional information and reservations, check Pitman's website at, call (603) 527-0043 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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