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Effingham family homeless after fire destroys house

BY THE TIME firefighters arrived at 245 Town House Rd. in Effingham, the building was completely engulfed in flames, so the effort focused on keeping the propane tank from exploding and protecting an outbuilding and camper. Units from five surrounding fire departments responded to the call on Sunday, March 27. (Mellisa Ferland photo) (click for larger version)
March 31, 2011
EFFINGHAM — A family here is homeless following a fire that destroyed their home Sunday morning, March 27. Scott and BillieSue Hale were at church in Wakefield when they got the devastating news that the home they had been living in while it was under construction had burned to the ground. The Hales shared the home with their two young sons, age seven and three. The family pets, including dogs, cats and a rabbit, all perished in the fire.

According to Effingham Fire Chief Randy Burbank, the fire at 245 Town House Rd. was reported by a passerby at 10:45 a.m. Firefighters arrived to find the house, which sits back from the road a bit, completely engulfed in flames. Burbank said the propane tank had already started venting and that was feeding the fire. He said all firefighters could do was keep water on the propane tank and contain the fire to the foundation to prevent it from spreading to a nearby outbuilding and camper.

Firefighters responded from Effingham, Freedom, Wakefield, Center Ossipee and Ossipee Corner and water supply was taken from a hydrant on Moody Road. A representative from N.H. Fire Marshal's Office was on scene Monday investigating the cause of the fire. Burbank said the investigator ruled the cause of the fire as "undetermined" as the heavy damage made it difficult to pinpoint an exact cause. Burbank did say the fire does not appear to be suspicious.

According to reports, the Hales are staying with friends and a collection is underway to try to help replace their possessions. One of the boys is a student at Effingham Elementary School and a list was circulating among parents and teachers of items needed by the family including size 4 diapers, boys clothes in size 3T and 8/10, women's socks and XL clothes, men's size 2X shirts or sweaters, men's 34-36 x 34 pants, and socks. Gift cards to Walmart or Hannaford as well as gas cards would also be helpful. Donated items can be dropped off at Effingham Elementary School. The family is also seeking plastic storage bins to store the donated items.

The Hale family has had more than their share of struggles. Following the birth of their second son, BillieSue underwent a heart transplant. In fact, the house burned the day the family was celebrating the three-year anniversary of Hale's transplant. Reportedly, the family had lived in Tuftonboro and relocated to Effingham, where they were trying to get a fresh start by working on building the home that is now a pile of rubble.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Alton School
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