Another Fire

via @clizdahlemNBCct Liz Dahlem

via @clizdahlemNBCct Liz Dahlem

This is from last week. Early morning fire destroys Hampton home

Update on cause: Officials: Hampton blaze started near wood stove

I got the call from Mike shortly before 6 a.m. I had just started my car to get ready to leave for work. I thought I was going to get yelled at. I have no idea why, but I assumed the worst. He told me, generally, where the fire was and that he needed me to get there ASAP. I, of course, told him I had no problem with that. He said to not worry about anything else I had to write because the fire would be one of our main stories for Wednesday.

The problem?

The fire is a good 45 minutes from my house without traffic. I immediately got my things together, forgot my water, and started my trek to the fire. I texted our morning photographer and made sure she knew the general location and that I was on my way, with my camera if it was needed. She said she would meet me there. I didn’t have any problems with traffic, but I did think I passed it a couple of times.

I wasn’t sure exactly where the fire was, but I knew it was off of Route 6. Thankfully, the fire police had the road completely blocked off, so I knew what was the road.

Now, don’t try this at home, but in order to get him to let me in the road I sat in the middle of Route 6 with my blinker on. Not knowing who I was at the time, he told me to pull into the road and asked me what I wanted. I told him I was a reporter and he let me through. He told me to drive slow and stay to the left so the tankers could get by. As I was pulling up to the line of cars from the first responders, WFSB passed me. All the major TV stations were there, as I had expected.

I could smell the smoke before I opened my door to go see the home. When I arrived, the home was still smoking (white smoke) and crews were still throwing a bit of water on it. The chimney and exterior walls were the only things left standing. The roof had completely collapsed and a tower truck was still over the home, presumably looking at the damage.

No sooner that I get to the end of the driveway, I find a familiar face. The fire marshal in one of my four towns, is the deputy chief and fire marshal in Hampton. We talked briefly, exchanged greetings and he had to go talk to someone. The fire chief, a really nice guy, was doing a TV interview, so I started taking notes.

After he was done with them, I introduced myself and asked the really specific questions. I don’t want to give away my secrets, but read my story (here) for the details. He was more than willing to talk. He looked pretty tired and answered all of my questions.

I got a call from our photographer that I had missed, so I called her back and confirmed she was on her way from her car to the home.

I took a walk up the driveway to the firetruck in the photo and took a look around.

I then found the deputy chief again an asked him the same questions, with some tailored to the investigation and the cause of the fire.

I finished up pretty quickly and I was able to get back to the office by 7:40 a.m. I had the story finished by 8:30 a.m.

The story came out great and I got almost 20″ out of it. I really wasn’t expecting that, but it helps to ask a ton of questions.

Having only the fire to write on deadline, I was able to get a headstart on the rest of the week.

Head start or not, I won’t be forgetting that fire for some time.

Jonathan

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