Dog and cat rescued from fire, Gilmanton home is destroyed


GILMANTON — A three-alarm fire heavily damaged a one-and-a-half-story ranch home off from Middle Route late Monday morning, rendering the home uninhabitable, according to Captain Dennis Comeau of the Gilmanton Fire Department.
He said firefighters were able to rescue a dog and a cat from the basement of the home after quickly knocking down the fire, which he said was burning through the front of the house when firefighters arrived.
The fire was reported at 10:35 a.m. by a neighbor of the 952 Middle Route home, who told dispatchers that the fire was coming through the roof. Comeau said a second alarm was called when firefighters en route to the scene could see smoke coming from the area before they arrived.
"It was well involved when we arrived. We were able to get a two-and-a-half-inch hose into the building through the front wall and blocked the fire from spreading to the rest of the building. Once we got water on it, we were able to knock it down quickly," said Comeau.
Gilmanton Police were the first to arrive at the scene and found the house totally involved in flames. Also responding to the initial call along with Gilmanton firefighters were units from Barnstead and Belmont.
Comeau said no one was at home when the fire broke out and that the owners of the property, whom he was unable to identify, were making plans for staying temporarily in an RV on the property.
No cause has yet been determined for the fire.

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Gilmanton Police were first on scene of a fire on Middle Route in Gilmanton late Monday morning and found the house fully involved. (Photo Courtesy Gilmanton Police)

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Firefighter Chris Griffin carries a dog which was found in the basement of a home which was heavily damaged by fire on Middle Route in Gilmanton Monday morning. (Photo Courtesy Gilmanton Police)

‘Gripped with fear’ - Woman describes night intruders broke into home


LACONIA — A woman who was awakened in her home when two men allegedly broke into it in August of 2015 told a jury Monday that she will never be the same person she was before the incident.

Monday was Day 1 of the trial of Michael Regan, 32, of Laconia. He is charged with entering a home on Emerald Street around 1 a.m. with another man with the intent of theft.

Belknap County Prosecutor Adam Wood opened his statements by telling the jury that his case is circumstantial and that the victim never saw the face of either intruder because one of them shined a flashlight in her face. He asked them to listen to the testimony and put the pieces of the puzzle together for themselves.

The victim, a widow, said she was awakened at 1 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2015, by the sound of someone making noise in her house. She said she had a summer cold and had taken some over-the-counter night-time cold medicine before she went to bed at around 8 p.m.

"Gripped with fear," she said she went to the end of her bed and peered around a corner and saw two strange men in the office going through her desk. She said she had a golf club and a phone with her and had dialed the direct phone number to the Laconia Police when she was confronted by one of them who was holding a flashlight. She said the two fled.

She described one man to police as white and said the other one was darker skinned. She said she saw the legs of one of the men and his skin was dark, like a tan.

Police reports indicate that she told police one of the men may be black. Gobiel, as was pointed out by defense counsel Ted Barnes, is a "red-headed Irishman."

Barnes appears to be using her description of a dark-skinned man as part of his defense. Both Regan and Gobeil are white and the victim didn't identify Regan in court Monday.

Laconia Police arrested Regan and Kevin Gobeil, 21, near the home. Gobeil came from the woods about 200 feet away from the house with his hands up. Regan was arrested by police in a small ravine in the woods, where police say he had apparently fallen.

The jury learned Monday that Gobeil pleaded guilty to burglary in this case and was sentenced to serve 2 to 4 years in the New Hampshire State Prison.

The victim and one of the two Laconia officers who testified Monday said there was a bathroom window in the bottom floor of the two-story home that had glass on the inside floor. Both said the rooms on the bottom floor, which are a bathroom, laundry room and a family room were ransacked. The victim said the medical cabinet in the downstairs bathroom was open.

Some key evidence introduced was the recovery of a backpack and one black-and-white shoe, or sneaker, on Emerald Street. Wood said Regan was wearing one black-and-white shoe that matched the one found on the street when police found him.

Barnes also questioned the height of the deck above the bathroom window allegedly used for access. From testimony given Monday, it appears to be between 4 ½ feet and 5 ½ feet from the ground.

The victim and two police officers have testified. A third police officer is scheduled to testify Tuesday morning.

Hudson man dies trying to retrieve dog in the water (176)

NEW HAMPTON — The body of a 54-year-old Hudson man was found in about 10 feet of water at 8:45 a.m. Monday morning, the day after he reportedly jumped from his boat to retrieve one of his dogs that had jumped overboard into the Pemigewasset River.

Marine Patrol said the death of Jacques C. Savoie has been ruled a drowning. He was found in the area where he was last seen by his wife, said Marine Patrol Capt. Timothy Dunleavy.

Marine Patrol Officials said Savoie and his wife were aboard a 14-foot aluminum motorboat with their four beagles when one of them jumped off the boat. After several attempts to retrieve the dog, Savoie jumped in.

Witnesses said Savoie began to struggle and life jackets were thrown to him but he was not able to reach them. He was last seen with the dog on his chest when he slipped into the water. The dog was recovered on a nearby shore.

First responders from New Hampton oversaw the incident until the state Department of Fish and Game and Marine Patrol arrived.

– Gail Ober