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Goffstown man alerted owner to Dunbarton barn blaze

DUNBARTON — Michael Blanchard may have saved a 200-year-old barn and historic homestead when he called in a fire alarm early Monday morning.

Blanchard, a Goffstown resident who has worked at Granite State Plumbing and Heating for 29 years, was taking his usual trip to work in Lebanon when he saw smoke and flames coming from the small barn at 221 Stark Highway South at about 5:15 a.m.

“I wasn’t sure at first it was a fire, but I turned back and saw the flames,” Blanchard said. “I drove into the driveway and saw a man in a mud room putting on his boots. He wasn’t aware of the fire.”

Bill and Helen Burnham, who ran out of the house barefoot, tried to save her pony, Daisy, and their six ducks, but the barn was engulfed in flames, Blanchard said.

“It was so windy that morning. I was worried about the big barn. I guess he was putting new siding on the big barn because you could smell pine pitch because of the heat from the fire,” he said.

Fire Chief Jon Wiggin said the fire started from a pile of wood ashes Burnham put on the ground near the small barn on Sunday; apparently the ashes ignited the fire overnight.

The animals were trapped inside the barn, but firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to the larger barn nearby.

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