At 12:45 a.m. on Saturday, volunteer firefighters in a small town 30 miles north of Amhers were alerted to a fire at 405 Richmond Road. When they arrived there, they encountered a devastating scene.
A devastating fire:
According to authorities, the father and one child were able to get to safety onto the driveway, but the mother and four children were stuck inside the flaming house with no way out as the fire devastated the structure and destroyed the windows and roof.
Ron Gates Warwick Fire Chief, addressed reporters while visibly shaken by the incident, he said that they lost a mother and four children, however there was nothing they could have done different.
Officials said that the surviving father was taken to a hospital in Keene, N.H. with non-life threatening injuries. State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said that the bodies of the 5 victims were recovered and taken away by the state medical examiner’s office. Authorities withheld the victims’ names.
Residents refused to give details about the family until the names of those killed in the fire got released. But according to Town Coordinator and member of the school committee David Young, the parents were involved in local government and one child was home schooled.
Two calls were made to 911 about the fire. One indicated that all occupants have escaped the blaze, while the other was from a neighbor. It’s not clear which one was made first, according to Warwick Police Chief Dave Shoemaker.
The fire destroyed the home, turning it into rubble, it also damaged three vehicles near the house. Gates said that they didn’t have a chance to knock the door down, it was too hot to get near the house.
Battling the elements:
Officials also said that getting water to the scene, the remote location, and the biting cold complicated the firefighting mission. Due to the lack of pressurized hydrants in town, firefighters had to get water from a pond half a mile away. The cold made it difficult for firefighters to maneuver and froze their equipment.
Investigators have concluded that the blaze was accidental but haven’t released any details about where and how it started, they are currently trying to determine whether the house had working smoke alarms or not.
Chairwoman of Warwick’s zoning board of appeals, Miryam Williamson, 80, said that her heart goes out to the victims and that residents will support the surviving family members.
“This is a town that pulls together when tragedy like this happens,” she added.