Portsmouth home saved by vigilant neighbor

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PORTSMOUTH — A fire Thursday afternoon could have been much worse had a neighbor not come to the rescue, according to the Fire Department.

Here's an account of the April 4 fire by Deputy Chief Michael P. O'Brien:

"At 1:40 p.m. the Portsmouth Fire received a report of a fire outside of 75 Crestview Drive. Crews arrived to find a smoldering fire in the front yard of the residence. A landscaped area covered with bark mulch and decorative plant had ignited and was free burning. A neighbor, who had discovered and reported the fire, doused the majority of the fire with a bucket.

"While fire crews were at the scene extinguishing the remainder of the first fire, as many as 10 other smaller fires broke out in mulched areas downwind from the original fire. Crews directed water on the other fires and wet down the entire area as a precaution. The secondary fires were caused by ambers blown from the original fire.

"It is likely that had the fire not been discovered at the time it was the house would have become involved in the fire. The home has downwind and the bark mulch adjacent to the house did catch fire. The vigilance of neighbor Anthony "Chip" Piermont prevented the house from burning and limited the damage caused by the fire to the landscaping.

"It should also be noted that the cause of this fire was a discarded cigarette. Portsmouth has experienced several significant fires over the years that were caused by careless smokers. Residential fires caused by smoking materials account for more deaths than any other type of residential fires (source U.S. Fire Administration)."

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