ALSTEAD — A second-alarm fire Saturday morning destroyed a home on Main Street.
The person who lived there is safe, according to Alstead Fire Chief Kim Kercewich, and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. One firefighter was injured during efforts to combat the blaze; he was also treated and released from the hospital, Kercewich said.
Fire crews were called to the house at 13 Main St. shortly after 7 a.m., a dispatcher with Southwestern N.H. District Fire Mutual Aid said.
The person who reported the fire was able to get the resident, an elderly man, out safely, but the man then went back into his house to try to put out the fire, according to Kercewich. Fire crews got him out of the building, and he was taken to Cheshire Medical Center as a precaution, Kercewich said.
The fire, which started on the second floor before spreading to the rest of the house, is not considered suspicious, he said. Initial observations by firefighters inside the home suggested a space heater may have been involved, but due to extensive damage to the building, which is a total loss, the chief said the fire’s cause could not be confirmed. The homeowner did not have insurance, he said.
The Red Cross was on scene Saturday morning, though Kercewich said he didn’t know whether the resident had accepted that assistance.
Firefighters started out battling the blaze from inside the home but later had to attack it from the outside when the roof became compromised, according to Kercewich. Crews had the fire under control by 11:22 a.m., the Mutual Aid dispatcher said.
The firefighter taken by Alstead Ambulance to Cheshire Medical Center had suffered back and shoulder injuries when he slipped inside the house, Kercewich said. Another firefighter slipped off an icy ladder but was unharmed, he said.
Other than that, Kercewich said there were no major problems stemming from the bitter cold Saturday. But with a lot of ice now inside, he said the house could possibly fall down. Nothing is in the collapse zone, he said.
In addition to Alstead, crews from Acworth, Gilsum, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, Surry, Walpole, North Walpole and Westminster, Vt., responded to the incident, according to Mutual Aid. A DiLuzio ambulance was also on the scene, while the Bellows Falls and Stoddard fire departments covered Alstead.
Kercewich said because the fire happened on a Saturday, more volunteer firefighters were available to help.
“If it had been a weekday, we wouldn’t have had [that assistance],” he said.
A sign at the Main Street home, which is next to the fire station, indicates it once housed the Alstead Village Cafe. The building also used to be an auto body shop, Kercewich said.