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Two-alarm barn blaze takes animals' lives

Fire rips through a barn on Great Rock Road, killing all livestock inside. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
January 27, 2010
SANDWICH — A two-alarm fire in a barn claimed the lives of numerous animals and brought a community rallying around the owner.

Flames consumed the barn on Great Rock Road Thursday night, killing livestock inside and destroying the building.

Sandwich Fire Chief Louis Brunelle said the call came in around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night of a structure fire in the barn owned by David Leach.

A neighbor said she was alerted to something amiss in the area by a friend and then looked out the window to see flames, knowing they were coming from Leach's barn. The neighbor said she went to the scene to make sure Leach was safe and saw Leach coming out with another friend as fire trucks came up the road.

Brunelle said the barn was fully involved by the time crews arrived on scene.

The call went to a second alarm and brought crews from Sandwich, Moultonboro, Center Harbor, Holderness, Meredith, West Ossipee, Tamworth, and Ashland.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and saved the two small side buildings and the residence. The small buildings beside the barn were scorched and the residence was untouched.

Brunelle said all animals inside the barn succumbed to the fire, including 13 cows, three pigs, and numerous chickens and goats. No people were inside the building and no one was injured.

Brunelle said the fire is of an undetermined cause, but does not appear to be suspicious in nature.

"I don't foresee us making any determination," Brunelle said.

Barn fires have occurred numerous times in Sandwich.

"It's a pretty aggressive fire because of the contents and the design of the building," Brunelle said.

Members of the community are banding together to help Leach.

"A number of people both here in Sandwich and in some neighboring towns have asked me if there is anything that they can do to help David," said Sandwich resident Diane Johnson in her weekly column. "At press time (Monday noon), I know there were some plans coming together through the Sandwich Selectman's Office; but they have not been finalized. Sometime soon, there will be a post on the Sandwich Board and next week I should have some information for the Sandwich Column."

Some residents said a barn-raising is being organized for Leach that will likely be scheduled sometime this spring.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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