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July 11. 2013 8:36PM

Natural gas ruled out as cause of Nashua fire


Fire officials gather at the scene of a fatal fire Wednesday evening in Nashua where one person was killed. The victim's identity is still being withheld. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA — State and city fire officials searched through the charred remains of a home on Carlisle Road on Thursday, trying to piece together what may have sparked a large fire that killed one person. Officials did, however, rule out a natural gas leak as the cause.

Authorities on Thursday still refused to identify the person who died in Wednesday's explosion and fire at 7 Carlisle Road. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning.

"The identity is still being withheld to protect the family's privacy. If they want to release it, they can do that," said Cynthia Bautista, Nashua fire marshal. The gender and age of the victim is also being withheld.

The family, according to Bautista, is receiving assistance from their church organization. Their pastor, she added, is helping to provide the family with necessary support during this trying time.

Crews returned to the fire scene on Thursday, picking through the rubble and shoring up the building.

"It is deemed unsafe, so we want it boarded before we leave," Bautista said.

Although the origin and cause of the fire have not yet been determined, she said, fire investigators have ruled out natural gas as the cause of the two-alarm blaze.

"I don't want any citizens to have concerns about a natural gas leak in the city," she said.

Bautista described the blaze as "pretty unique" but refused to elaborate on why the fire was so unusual in nature.

City firefighters were called to the two-story residence shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday for a reported explosion and fire. The house was fully involved upon arrival, which stalled an immediate search of the building, said fire officials.

A side wall of the house flew off the structure because of the explosion's impact, according to Max Schultz, assistant state fire marshal. A garage door was also blown off, he said.

Once crews extinguished some of the blaze and firefighters were able to get inside of the building to search, the victim's body was discovered, Schultz said earlier, refusing to comment on where the person was found inside of the house.

Although fire officials have still not released the name of the victim or the homeowner, city tax records identify the property owner as Clara G. Demeusy. Online phone records list A. James and C. Bellefroid as occupants of the home.

Bautista said officials want to secure the house as soon as possible to prevent any children or curious individuals from attempting to roam inside.

khoughton@newstote.com


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