By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Fire swept through a home at 76 Winnisquam Ave. on Saturday morning, forcing one resident to jump through a window and threatening the houses to either side and leaving two adults and their dog homeless.
As firefighters from Laconia, Gilford and Belmont were dispatched to the scene, Capt. Chris Shipp requested a first alarm to recall off-duty firefighters along with neighboring departments to staff the city's fire stations. Reaching the scene in three minutes with four firefighters, Shipp found one house fully afire and two others threatened and requested a second alarm. Engine 1 ran a 4-inch hose from a hydrant on Winnisquam Avenue while a second two-and-a-half-inch hose was directed at the rear of the building. Firefighters forestalled the spread of fire to the abutting homes then turned to the burning building. As more crews arrived, firefighters ran additional hose lines into the building as well as the home to its left. Ladders were raised to reach the upper story and the tower was raised to the roof to attack fire in the attic.
Fire Chief Ken Erickson said that fire "gutted" the interior of the home at 76 Winnisquam Ave., which he expected "will have to come down." Damage to the home on one side was limited to an exterior wall and the attic while there was heat damage to the vinyl siding of the other flanking property.
The property is owned by Gail Denio, whose son Mark was home alone when the fire broker out. He escaped from the burning building by jumping through a window and was treated at the scene for cuts to his hands. A firefighter was also injured and treated at Lakes Region General Hospital.
Erickson said that the cause of the fire has not been determined, and added that in light of extent of the damage, it may not be. He said that Mark Denio told firefighters that he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and the porch at the rear of the house "exploded" and the house burst into flame.
"We had several reports of an explosion," said the chief, who noted that a propane tank was found at the scene.
The Denios lost everything they owned save the clothes on their backs. Gail Denio has worked for the city for more than 20 years. Donna Woodaman, the finance director, said that an account at GoFundMe has been established to assist the Denios and anyone wishing to contribute can do so by following this link:https://www.gofundme.com/gail-denios-fire-relief-fund?ssid=796763969&pos=1. Those who would prefer to donate by check or cash should make out checks and mark cash donations for Gail Denio and bring them to the Finance Department on the second floor of City Hall.
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