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Man accused of blocking ambulance at Derry house fire

Union Leader Correspondent

March 14. 2014 10:29AM

Robert Lebel 

DERRY - Firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire Thursday night at 23 Beacon Hill Road, allowing four family members who had been evacuated to reoccupy the residence.

And in an unusual event that occurred during the fire, neighbor Robert Lebel, age 52, of 12 Beacon Hill Road was arrested after he became irate when he found an ambulance parked in his driveway, according to fire and police officials.

Lebel parked his car behind the ambulance and refused to move it when asked by both a Derry fire officer and police officer, police Capt. Vern Thomas said in a news release.

Lebel is accused of spitting on the back window of the ambulance and swearing at officers when they asked him again to move his car. When he refused, police arrested him for disorderly conduct, a class A misdemeanor. Lebel was later released and given a March 27 arraignment date at 10th Circuit Court, Derry District Division.

The fire was first reported around 7:55 p.m. and Derry firefighters, along with mutual aid from Windham, responded to the scene. Derry police arrived on the scene first and evacuated a mother and her three children, Derry Battalion Chief Jack Webb said in a news release.

Firefighters were able extinguish the blaze that began on exterior wooden steps of the single family home and spread to the siding and extending into the basement.

Crews also later extinguished a small partition fire that came through the exterior wall and into the basement.

Using thermal imaging firefighters were able to determine that no fire had extended into the first floor. The fire was declared under control at 8:20 p.m.

The family was then able to reoccupy the house, Webb said. The fire was caused by careless disposal of ashes from a wood stove, he said.

Webb reminded homeowners of the importance of proper disposal of ashes from wood stoves. Ashes should be contained in a metal bucket with a tight fitting cover, placed outside and well away from the home, garage or other combustible materials.

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