20200120-WEB-Westmoreland1

Jake Lahut / Sentinel Staff

Firefighters set up along Route 63 to fight a house fire on Chickering Road in Westmoreland.

WESTMORELAND — Firefighters responded to Chickering Road early Monday afternoon for a house fire that caused significant damage and displaced a local family, according to Westmoreland Fire Chief Harry Nelson.

Nelson said no firefighters were injured in the fire, and the residents were not at home, having just had a baby the day before.

However, the family dog and cat perished in the fire, according to Nelson.

The fire at 89 Chickering Road was called in at 12:32 p.m. when the homeowner received an alert on his phone from a home video surveillance app.

Nelson said a small fire had started in the basement before a backdraft caused an explosion, which the homeowner witnessed on his phone when he saw the double hung doors blow off the back of the house.

Online town property records list the owner as Keith Perry.

The fire also presented a logistical challenge for first responders because of its remote location at the end of a dirt road.

The home is located some 3,000 feet down Chickering Road from where tankers lined up along Route 63, according to one firefighter’s estimate.

Nelson said the Westmoreland Fire Department arrived first to lay a hose down that stretch of dirt road, but ended up running out of fire hose by the end. The Walpole Fire Department arrived to assist with more hose and an additional water tanker.

To save time and pump more water, firefighters set up a “folder tank” — essentially a low reinforced pool — along Route 63 to dump water into and feed the hose continuously, rather than detaching and reattaching the hose to successive tankers, Nelson said.

No smoke could be seen from the blockade at the corner of Route 63 and Chickering Road. A Sentinel reporter was told not to move closer to the scene.

Tuesday morning, Nelson said it took firefighters about an hour to contain and douse the blaze, with crews remaining on the scene to check for hot spots. The cause is still undetermined, he said, due to the significant basement damage.

The fire held at a first alarm, according to a dispatcher at Southwestern N.H. District Fire Mutual Aid.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family at https://bit.ly/2TQ3VTP.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS