Six people displaced after Portsmouth house fire

PORTSMOUTH — Four adults and two children escaped from a fire that heavily damaged a two-family home Thursday night.

“One of the families was put up by Red Cross — two adults,” said Elizabeth McDonald, director of emergency services for the Red Cross, on Friday. “The other family is staying with friends.”

Fire department crews and apparatus were dispatched to 1193 East Main Road for a structure fire at 9:25 p.m., according to Deputy Chief Michael O’Brien. When they arrived they found heavy smoke coming from the rear of a two-family residential building.

A second alarm was transmitted because of the conditions and the size of the structure, said the deputy chief, and engines from Bristol, Middletown and Navy responded to the scene; a Tiverton engine covered the Portsmouth Station. An ambulance was dispatched to the scene from Bristol.

Portsmouth crews, led by Captain Sieben, stretched attack lines into an interior stairwell, after locating fthe ire inside a rear exterior wall. The fire was extinguished on all three floors, as well as the basement, when crews used hand tools to break through wall plaster to expose the fire, Deputy Chief O’Brien said. The fire appears to have spread quickly upwards through the open bays of the wall, he said.

As many as four adults and two children in the multi-family home at the time of the blaze. All escaped without injury, although one adult was exposed to smoke while rescueing a family pet. The Red Cross was called to the scene to provide shelter for the displaced families.

Extensive overhaul was performed to put all hot spots and prevent any possible reignition of the fire. The last unit cleared the scene at 20 minutes past midnight.

Deputy Chief O’Brien commended the responders putting out a potentially dangerious fire. He also expressed gratitude for the response from the department’s mutual aid partners.

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