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Fire destroys Lunenburg home



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A rampant fire destroyed the Main Street residence of Paul Girard and son Chris of Lunenburg, Vt. last Friday afternoon. Sparks can be seen as a broken power line hits the parked vehicle in their driveway. (Photo By Jonathan Benton) (click for larger version)
February 24, 2010
LUNENBURG— With strong winds last Friday afternoon it did not take long for the Lunenburg home of a father and son to burn.

The owner of the house, Paul Girard, was reported to have been away purchasing animal feed when the fire broke out and his 11-year-old son was still at school. Unfortunately their two dogs were caught within the blaze and did not survive, but their pigs in an adjacent pen did.

The fire outstretched to snap the power line connected to their house and swung into a silver vehicle parked in their driveway and with sputtering sparks soon set fire to it. The vehicle had belonged to Mr. Girard's late wife who had passed away the year before.

Just before 3 p.m. the Lunenburg Fire Department answered the call and were soon followed fire departments from Concord, Vt., Lancaster, Dalton, Whitefield and Stratford Hollow.

Putting out the blaze was not easy as problems soon arose. Water from the Lunenburg fire hydrants was sucked down to a degree where water was soon being trucked in. Adding to the challenge, the metal roof on the home prevented ventilation and water from getting to the fire that was burning between the metal and wooden part of the roof. The house was of a "very old post and wooden beam" set up, according to Mike Kopp of the Lancaster Fire Department, and had fire on both of its floors burning incredibly hot. The building was eventually laddered with firemen pumping in water directly from a second story window. No adjacent houses were damaged and no one was hurt according to Mr. Kopp. Fire crews were on the scene for about five and a half hours before it could be left safely around 8:30 p.m.

Officials were alerted to the scene by five Connecticut men that were headed to Pittsburg and saw smoke billowing out from the building as they were driving by around 2:45 p.m. The men noted that they banged on the locked door to see if anyone was inside before getting to a safe distance.

The Democrat tried to contact Mr. Girard for comment, but he did not call back and was busy salvaging what was left of his home, according to friend Shelly Colby.

Although Mrs. Colby commented that Mr. Girard believes the fire began from one of his two wood stoves, according to Captain Steven Jones of the LFD the current cause of the fire is still undetermined.

The American Red Cross was also on the scene and provided food for Paul and Chris, whose house and the belongings within are considered a total loss.

Community flocks to help

The Girard family's misfortune has not gone unnoticed by the community and a spaghetti dinner and dance will be held this Saturday to raise donations, according to Mrs. Colby who is helping to organize the event. On Feb. 27, at the Gilman Middle School from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. dinner with all the fixin's will be served and from then after till 9:30 p.m. will be a dance with a provided DJ. In addition to the pasta there will also be garlic bread tossed salad and an assortment of desserts. Entry is simply "whatever people can donate." A bank account at Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank of 199 Main Street, Lancaster is being set up in Paul's name where donations can also be sent.

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