Bird's nest causes city house fire

LACONIA — A bird's nest near a light bulb is thought to have started a fire at 25 Overland St. on Saturday.

Laconia, Gilford and Belmont fire departments were sent to the scene when a call at 10:36 p.m. to 911 asked for a fire extinguisher and then went dead. Laconia police arrived first, according to Fire Chief Kenneth Erickson, and reported that there was fire in e in the living ceiling and that all occupants were out of the house. A neighbor from the next apartment had done a great job of knocking down the flames with a garden hose, said Erickson.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out after opening the ceiling bay. Erickson said the fire is thought to have started on the front porch from an outside light. A bird's nest ignited and flames spread to the underside of the porch ceiling, into the livingroom ceiling, and eventually into the attic.

No one was hurt. Damage is estimated at $25,000.


  • Written by Ginger Kozlowski
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Laconia police: Six ODs in 36 hours


LACONIA — A driver who passed out at the wheel and triggered a traffic accident Thursday was one of six drug overdoses that occurred within a 36-hour period, the police chief said Monday.

Police Chief Matt Canfield said the crash on Messer Street just south of Union Avenue points up a cause for concern.

“We are seeing an increase of people driving while impaired,” Canfield said. “We are used to dealing with alcohol, but now we’re seeing more drivers impaired by drugs, heroin and prescription medication.”

Those types of cases can be harder to prove compared to drunken driving, where evidence in the form of a breath test or blood test is often conclusive. Determining legal impairment in drug cases can be more difficult.

In the crash on Messer Street, an officer happened to be driving by at the time of the accident and quickly pulled over and found the driver unresponsive. The police officer began CPR. Firefighters administered naloxone, which is used to reverse an overdose.

The driver, Antonio J. Perillo, 21, of Franklin, was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital for treatment. Perillo’s passenger and the driver of the car he crashed into were not injured.

Canfield said police have information that Perillo snorted heroin before he got behind the wheel. Perillo was charged with driving while intoxicated and was released on $1,000 personal recognizance bail.

This was one of six drug overdoses that were reported between 12:24 a.m. Thursday and 11:56 a.m. Friday in Laconia. While the other overdoses did not involve car accidents, they are no less concerning, said Canfield, who has been a police officer for two decades.

“In my 20 years, I’ve never seen drugs affect us this way here in Laconia or in New Hampshire in general,” he said.

There were 20 overdoses in Laconia in July alone, Fire Chief Ken Erickson said.

August also appears to be shaping up as a bad month for overdoses, he said. His firefighters administer naloxone, also called Narcan, but it is most effective immediately after the overdose. Lasting medical complications may arise if a person overdoses and is unconscious for longer periods.

Erickson said this was the case recently on Route 3 in Belmont. A man passed out in his car and firefighters had to break one of the vehicle’s windows to get him out. He remains in critical condition.

“Even if we administer Narcan to reverse opioids, after more than five or six minutes, there can be significant damage to the brain and heart muscle,” he said.

“We have a pretty remarkable save rate but we’re not going to be able to save everybody.”

There have been at least 187 drug deaths statewide so far this year, according to the New Hampshire attorney general’s office. It did not have a city-by-city breakdown.
The state ranks second nationally for per capita deaths due to drug overdose at 34.2 per 100,000, behind only West Virginia at 41.5 per 100,000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Fire at Laconia Transfer station Friday did $100,000 in damage


LACONIA — Friday’s fire caused at least $100,000 damage to a large sheet metal building at the city’s garbage transfer station, Fire Chief Ken Erickson said Monday.

Engineers will carefully inspect the structure, but it appears the main support beams are intact and that the building can be rehabilitated, he said.

Erickson said firefighters did a good job of dousing steel roof supports during the blaze, and this may have helped them from twisting and losing their integrity.

The fire put up large plumes of smoke visible for miles.

There were no injuries.

Erickson said a commercial trash hauler apparently picked up material that was smoldering and when it was dumped in the building, it quickly erupted into flames that spread into the structure.

Commercial trash haulers drop off loads at the transfer station building. Other trucks then pick up the material and take it off site for final disposal.

With the building out of commission, an alternative arrangement for transferring the garbage will be worked out, he said.

The station was also re-opened for public use over the weekend.

08 29 transfer station fire

Rhys Gaudet and Dylan Martel, Meredith firefighters, had to cut a hole in the building to douse the steel structural beams to keep them from warping in the heat when the Laconia Transfer Station building caught fire Friday. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

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