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Rochester firefighters back at scene of last week's 2-alarm fire

Union Leader Correspondent

April 29. 2013 8:23PM
A two-alarm fire considered suspicious destroyed a vacant home and burned more than an acre of woods along Chestnut Hill Road in Rochester Thursday. Firefighters were able to prevent it from spreading to nearby buildings near Lydall Filtration/Separation Inc. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)

ROCHESTER - Firefighters believe the two-alarm fire last Thursday behind the Lydall plant was set, but they continue to investigate the matter, according to deputy fire chief Fran Zombeck.

While firefighters used water and foam to extinguish the fire, Zombeck said crews had to return Monday evening after a hot spot hidden within the debris re-ignited in the basement area.

Last Thursday's fire, reported at 3:08 p.m., destroyed a vacant home and scorched more than an acre of swampy woods off Chestnut Hill Road.

"Right now, we're considering it suspicious," Zombeck said. The building was not connected to any power lines, he said.

Zombeck said firefighters remain concerned how quickly the fire spread into nearby woods. The second alarm was sounded to bring additional personnel to prevent the fire from spreading further.

Due to the proximity to Route 16, which had to be shut down briefly, and easy access along an old road behind the Lydall plant, firefighters were able to reach the site and pump in water from a hydrant on Chestnut Hill Road.

Local crews were assisted by firefighters from Barrington, Dover, Durham, Farmington and Somersworth and forest rangers from the state's Forest Protection Bureau, which is part of the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development. Firefighters from Farmington, Milton and Rochester provided station coverage.

Zombeck said during the past week, the state determined the fire danger to be high - a 3 on a scale of 5 - but he anticipates fire-danger levels to increase as warmer temperatures continue to dry out the area.

For more information or to view the daily fire danger level, visit

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