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No injuries reported in four-unit apartment blaze in Belmont

Union Leader Correspondent

April 19. 2013 4:48AM
A four-unit apartment building on Young Road in Belmont was struck by a three-alarm fire Wednesday night. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent)

BELMONT - A man who was apparently trapped by flames jumped from a burning three-story building late Wednesday night and escaped without injury, fire officials said.

Fire broke out at 149 Young Road, Belmont, at 6:30 p.m., according to Gilford Fire Chief Stephen Carrier. The fire was originally thought to be in Gilford, but was found to be in Belmont, Carrier said.

Firefighters from Gilford and Laconia were dispatched to the fire. While responding, they were told there was an occupant trapped on the second floor, Carrier said.

Before they got to the scene, another phone call indicated that the occupant had been able to jump from the second floor and was out of the building.

"Obviously, the occupant that jumped was extremely lucky to get out of the building," Carrier said. "His only exit to the ground was completely engulfed in flames. He jumped from a deck onto a dump truck parked below to escape the flames and smoke."

Carrier said there were no other occupants in the building at the time of the fire.

Belmont Fire Department Lt. Greg Bavis said authorities were working Thursday to identify the man who jumped. He was an adult male who jumped from a second story rear deck.

He fell about 24 feet and landed in a dump truck, Bavis said.

"He apparently was in one of the units and fled when the fire spread," he said.

The fire is not considered suspicious in nature, as it started in a second floor egress in the wall of the building, he said.

When firefighters arrived, a first alarm was called for, as fire was showing from the roof, the right side, and rear of the large, four-unit apartment building with garages underneath. A second alarm was requested, and then a third alarm was called at 7:08 p.m. for additional manpower and water supply help.

Firefighters knocked down the fire on the exterior of the building and in the attic and roof areas with outside streams, and then advanced hand lines into the second and third floors to extinguish the remaining fire in the walls, floors, and attic. Water was shuttled to the scene from a cistern on Cotton Hill Road, Carrier said.

After the fire was knocked down, when it was determined that the building was in Belmont, the Belmont Fire Department assumed control of the incident. Three engines, a tanker, a rescue truck, an ambulance and a utility truck from Gilford responded to the scene along with an engine and ladder from Laconia.

Apparatus and crews from Belmont, Sanbornton, Tilton-Northfield, Franklin, Holderness, Meredith and Alton assisted at the scene. Engines from Center Harbor and New Hampton covered the Gilford station, along with an ambulance from Gilmanton.

Also assisting on scene were a number of officers from local departments, Lake Region Mutual Fire Aid, Lakes Region Community Emergency Response Team, Gilford police, and the Red Cross.

The house was badly damaged, but firefighters managed to save much of it, Carrier said.

"All of the crews worked extremely well together, as usual," Carrier said. "This was a tremendous stop considering the amount of fire we had showing when we arrived, the remote location, and the size of the building."

The American Red Cross Disaster Action Team assisted four adults who were displaced after the fire. The residents have been offered financial assistance for food, lodging, clothing, shoes and bedding, according to the Red Cross.

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