3-Alarm Blaze Destroys S. River Road Offices
Merrimack among seven nearby communities to assist Bedford at the scene and with station coverage.
Merrimack Fire Department was one of seven communities that aided Bedford Fire Department on Tuesday night to put out a three-alarm blaze that destroyed a small office building on South River Road.
The fire, which broke out around 5 p.m., gutted at least part of Building A in the three-building Daniel Webster office park at 288 S. River Road, Fire Chief Scott Wiggin said.
A protective fire wall between buildings prevented the fire from spreading from Building A to Building B, Wiggin said. Building B suffered some minor smoke damage, Wiggin said, and Building C, which is detached and set across the parking lot from the L-shaped Buildings A and B, was untouched.
Wiggin said they were called to the fire around 5:10 p.m. and Deputy Chief Mark Klose, who was with the first truck to arrive on scene quickly called in a second alarm. When the fire was called in to dispatch, flames were already showing through the roof, Wiggin said. By the time the first responders arrived, the fire could be seen in the windows of the single-story building which houses Dr. Ray Humphrey's chiropractic office, massage therapist Stacy Picard's Touch of Nobility, and at least one other office space.
Wiggin said the fire was quickly called to three alarms, bringing in crews from Bedford, Amherst, Goffstown, Manchester, Merrimack and Londonderry. Hooksett and New Boston also assisted with station coverage for Bedford.
Around 7:15 p.m., hot spots were still being drenched and a piece of debris could be scene burning on the ground not far from the building.
Because of it's location on South River Road, there was plenty of hydrant access, so water supply was not an issue, and temperatures were cold, but above freezing.
“It was just the amount of manpower it takes to haul all the equipment and the act of putting out the fire,” Wiggin said of any complications extinguishing the blaze.
“We'll be here a couple more hours wetting down hotspots and overhauling the remainder of the scene,” Wiggin said just before 7 p.m.
He said they already had an excavator coming in to move some of the debris away from the building and South River Road, which had been closed from the south end of Hawthorne Drive to Technology Drive at the Circle K gas station, was expected to remain closed until around 8 p.m., Wiggin thought.
Picard, the massage therapist, who was standing on Cedarwood Drive watching crews douse the building, said business was still underway for the day when the fire started. She rents a room inside Humphrey's office.
“I had just finished with a client and I went back to change the table and there was smoke coming through the vents,” Picard, a Goffstown resident, said.
She was unsure exactly what she would find of her massage space when she is able to get back into the building, but she said Humphrey told her at one point that everything was gone.
“I'm still not sure exactly what that means,” Picard said.
She also had not yet heard when she might be able to get back into the building. Picard said she'd been renting space in the building since she opened her business seven years ago.
Picard said she believed a property management office had just opened in the space at the front of Building, which suffered the most significant damage.The exterior walls were gone on at least one side of the building, as was much of the roof.
Wiggin said keen early observations of the scene gave them a good point of reference for where the fire started, but Wiggin said it was too early in the investigation to say exactly what caused it.
Bedford Patch will bring you more information on this fire as it becomes available.