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Fire destroys Berlin home

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
September 24, 2020
BERLIN — On the evening of Sept. 14 a devastating fire destroyed a home on School Street. The 911 call came in at 6:31 p.m. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered heavy fire in the rear of the home as well as in an adjacent garage.

A general alarm brought in off duty firefighters.

Berlin Fire Chief Jay Watkins said, "Due to the close proximity of the incident to the station and quick work by the duty crew with incoming personnel, the fire was stopped before it could reach the rest of the home. Damage to neighboring homes was kept to superficial heat damage."

The fire was under control in just under three hours. According to Watkins, the State Fire Marshal arrived on scene shortly thereafter and conducted an investigation.

Watkins said, "The cause is believed to be accidental."

Watkins explained how crews fought the blaze:

"Engine 1's crew advanced hose lines to both sides of the house to get a quick knock down and to protect the structures on both sides. Once the bulk of the fire was out on the outside, the crew made entry into the structure to attempt to extinguish the fire on the interior."

He added, "Due to mechanical issues with Engine 1, the interior crews were pulled from the structure. Engine 1 was removed as the pumper and all hose lines were moved to Engine 2. Once lines were charged crew entered the third floor attic area to extinguish the fire. Due to limited visibility and a lot of items in the attic the fire was difficult to locate. Once crews were able to move items and locate the fire it was extinguished."

During the incident the station was covered by Lt. Peters with an engine crew from Gorham. All units were back in service by 11:37 p.m.

Watkins added, "We would like to extend our sympathies to the families effected during this difficult time."

"We would also like to remind the public to please seek alternate routes when driving near an emergency incident. During this incident, a driver disregarded a firefighter's request to not drive towards the scene and drove over a pressurized four inch supply line from the fire hydrant to the fire engine. Had the line ruptured, this would have killed all water supply to the fire engine and all the hoses being operated by the firefighters," stressed Watkins.

The fire danger in the region is extremely high.

Watkins said, "Right now it is extremely dry. The ground is dry below the surface as well as on top. Right now, it is very dangerous to have any outside fires. Be aware if you do and have water ready in case it gets out of control."

Mike Cryans
John MacDonald
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