2015-12-04 / Front Page

Chicken coop heat lamp starts fire in North Walpole

By Nancy A. Cavanaugh

A fire caused by a heat lamp ignited a chicken coop, a tractor and three propane tanks at 11 Merchant St. in North Walpole Thursday afternoon. Homeowner Drew Steele (left) talks with fire department personnel as they investigate the scene. — NANCY A. CAVANAUGHA fire caused by a heat lamp ignited a chicken coop, a tractor and three propane tanks at 11 Merchant St. in North Walpole Thursday afternoon. Homeowner Drew Steele (left) talks with fire department personnel as they investigate the scene. — NANCY A. CAVANAUGHNORTH WALPOLE — The call came in around 2:30 p.m. yesterday for a structure fire at 11 Merchant St. in North Walpole. When fire crews arrived, the chicken coop roof, a tractor, three propane tanks and a shed were on fire near the home, according to Walpole Fire Chief William Crawford. The fire was contained within 20 minutes.

None of the four residents of the house, which is owned by Drew Steele, were home when the fire started.

Fire departments from Walpole, Westminster and Bellows Falls responded to the fire. Westminster covered for North Walpole.

“There’s no suspicion with the fire,” said Crawford. “The point of origin has been determined to be the heat lamp. We don’t know if it was knocked over and some hay or sawdust got ignited, or if there was an electrical malfunction.”

There was minimal damage done to the exterior of the house. Seven of the eight chickens have been accounted for. There were no signs of a body in the ash, according to Crawford.

Damages had not been released by deadline.

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