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Cause still undetermined for double fatal Madison blaze

May 20, 2010
MADISON — The cause of a fire that apparently killed a Grison Road couple on Wednesday, May 12 was not released as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Madison's fire chief.

The bodies of Robert Busick, 63, and Brigitta Overbey, 36, were recovered after fire fighters battled a blaze that consumed their home at 21 Grison Road at around 9:51 p.m.

"There's still a shell standing, that's it," said Madison Fire Chief Richard Judkins of the house.

The New Hampshire Fire Marshal's Office, which had been investigating the blaze, has not released any information about its cause, said Judkins on Tuesday. Because of the extent of the damage a definitive cause may never be determined, he said. However, Judkins said he noticed that the woodstove's area of the house seemed to be drawing the state investigator's attention.

The Madison Fire Department has been particularly busy for the few weeks. During that time, a North Conway man died in a canoeing accident on Big Pea Porridge Pond and there have also been numerous minor accidents and medical calls. In fact, the interview for this story was cut short by a call for service.

"Our volunteers have been performing admirably and I'm very proud of them," said Judkins. "They give an awful lot to the community."

A deputy chief was on scene of the fire in less than five minutes of the initial call, at which time the home was fully involved. A short time later, firefighters were able to knock the fire down with a deck gun, a hose mounted on a pumper truck that's capable of spraying at least 750 gallons of water per minute.

"You don't want to stand in front of it," said Judkins.

Busick was found on a bed and Overbey was in a bathroom, said Judkins. Overbey apparently called a friend on the phone as the fire was breaking out. The friend encouraged Overbey to get out of the home with Busick. At the exact same time as that phone call, neighbors were calling 911 to tell authorities about the fire, said Judkins.

"She knew there was a fire in the house," said Judkins of Overbey.

Because the building was in danger of collapsing, rescue crews looked through windows to find Busick and Overbey — who were clearly deceased. The bodies were removed under the supervision of the State Fire Marshal's Office. They were loaded into a vehicle owned by Furber & White Funeral Home, of North Conway, and taken to Concord for autopsy.

For a couple of reasons, it's unclear if the home had working smoke detectors at the time of the fire. The first reason is the home was totally involved in fire when rescue crew arrived. The second reason was ammunition that was stored in the home was exploding. The bullets didn't go flying around because they were not loaded into a gun barrel, said Judkins.

"It sounded like fire crackers," said Judkins.

Madison Fire Department was assisted by fire crews from Tamworth, Conway, and West Ossipee. Freedom Fire Department covered Madison's station.

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