Teen identified as victim of fatal North Walpole fireBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
February 07. 2018 3:15PM
NORTH WALPOLE – An 18-year-old local man has been identified as the victim of Monday’s fatal house fire on East Street, officials announced Wednesday.
An autopsy conducted Wednesday on Daniel Underhill determined the cause of death to be smoke inhalation and ruled the manner of death accidental, a joint statement from New Hampshire State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan, North Walpole Fire Chief William Crawford and Walpole Police Chief Michael Paquette said.
In an online post Tuesday to the Alstead & Fall Mountain Area Community Facebook page, Underhill’s mother, Gloria Gaudet Underhill, invited the community to post photos and stories of her son.
In response to people reaching out asking how they might help, the “Underhill Family Fund” has been established at Savings Bank of Walpole to acception donations, the North Walpole mother said.
A GoFundMe page created Tuesday by Karen Harrison of North Walpole has already collected more than $5,000 to assist the family.
“Early Monday morning, Chuck and Gloria lost their beloved son Daniel, along with their home, in a tragic fire,” the GoFundMe page says. “Please help show your support for this family in their time of need! They will be looking for a pet friendly place to rent, that will also be shared with Christopher when he is home from college.”
Firefighters responded to the house fire at 8 East St. about 3:16 a.m. Monday.
In a statement later that day, officials confirmed one person had died and another person was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.
Witnesses said the only other family member home that night was Daniel’s father, Chuck Underhill, as Gloria Underhill works nights and an older son was away at college.
Allan and Linda Shepard, who live across the street from the Underhills, were awakened by the father about 3 a.m.
“He woke us up at 3 o’clock in the morning, him pounding on the door here, and he actually, he went to the other apartment here also, and he was screaming there’s fire and his son was upstairs and they couldn’t get to him,” said Linda Shepard on Tuesday. “We all tried to yell and scream -- thinking that if the boy could hear anything that maybe he would come to the window or whatever. But it just didn’t happen. And no one could get to him upstairs.”
Allan Shepard said one neighbor tried go inside the house for the boy, but was driven back.
“He said he got up two steps and the smoke was so bad,” Shepard said. “He knew that if he went up he might not find his way back out, because the smoke was so thick. … We all yelled and screamed and set off car alarms. Anything that made noise. ... Of course we knew when we saw the flames coming out of his bedroom window it was over.”
Linda Shepard said community members placed flowers and balloons at the house Tuesday, but by afternoon the items appeared to have been picked up.
“It’s sad. You hate to see someone lose their life, especially a child. And having to deal with losing a child is rough,” said Shepard.
The GoFundMe page is located at https://www.gofundme.com/underhill-family-support.