By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
Building and brush fires, a search for a missing man and a guy who jumped out of a car on the bypass kept area firefighters busy for most of the past weekend.
The weekend began with a house fire accompanied by a brush fire on Reservoir Road in Northfield that was reported around 4 p.m. Friday. Tilton-Northfield Fire Chief Mike Sitar said the house fire was caused by an electrical problem, but since no one was home, it burned for quite a while before it was noticed and reported.
He said the house fire spread to the dry grass and fields around the house and it was police officers from Tilton and Northfield who kept the grass fire at bay.
"It was a trying situation," said Sitar, who said they could only get one truck up the long driveway to the home and many firefighters had to walk up the hill with their gear.
Sitar said his department also responded to several mutual aid calls that included sending a three-person crew and a brush truck to Stoddard on Friday to assist them in a four-day battle with a forest fire.
On Saturday, firefighting began early with a brush fire near Hickory Stick Lane, where Belmont, Laconia and Gilford crews extinguished the flames before they could reach a nearby home. Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson said it appears the fire was started by a discarded cigarette.
At 2 p.m., Laconia, Belmont and Gilmanton crews responded to a garage fire on Allens Mill Road in Gilmanton and just after clearing from there, firefighters from Laconia, Meredith and Gilford went to a fire at Petal Pushers on Parade Road, where two greenhouses and a pile of mulch burned for several hours.
Erickson said they had just finished with Petal Pushers when they were called to Center Street in downtown Laconia for a small brush fire burning between two three-story wood-frame houses.
Erickson said it appears a small child set the fire, knew what he had done was wrong and immediately told his mother, who called 911.
At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Laconia and Belmont crews responded to a Sargent Lake Road for a brush fire that went to a second alarm and brought crews from Tilton-Northfield to the scene.
At midnight, crews from Laconia, Gilford and Meredith responded to a burning garbage barrel on the front porch of a building on Messer Street. Erickson said the fire was quickly extinguished and did minimal damage to the house.
While Gilford was providing mutual aid to the surrounding area, Deputy Chief Brad Ober said they spent eight hours on Sunday seeking a man who was later found deceased by members of the state Department of Fish and Game.
On Saturday, Ober said they responded to a report of a man who jumped from a moving car on the Laconia Bypass after having an argument with his girlfriend.
Ober said firefighter spent about 30 minutes looking for him. The man eventually came out of the woods and declined treatment. Ober said fire crews left him in the company of the Gilford Police.
All chiefs said they wanted to thank all of the regular and call firefighters for all of the work they did on what all agreed was an extraordinarily busy weekend.
"Throughout the weekend the Lakes Region area fire departments were tasted several time and did great work each time," said Erickson. "The mutual aid system proved it's value time and time again."
This home in Northfield burned for several hours before the fire that destroyed much of the building was noticed. (Photo courtesy Northfield-Tilton Fire Rescue)
04-26 Northfield house fire