Fire Crews Fight Blaze at Hampton Funeral Home

By Meg Powers

Hampton Union, Tuesday, July 21, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

A fire broke out at the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory on Monday in Hampton.
[Deb Cram photo]

HAMPTON -- Firefighters responded to a blaze at the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home, 811 Lafayette Road, early Monday afternoon.

At approximately 12:25 p.m., the Hampton Fire Department was alerted to a possible fire in the rear of the funeral home. The first firefighters on the scene saw light smoke from that area of the large Route 1 business.

The fire appeared to be confined to the ceiling directly above the crematorium area of the funeral home. It took approximately 30 minutes to "knock down" the flames and the fire was under control at 1:37 p.m., said Fire Chief Chris Silver.

Local fire units remained on the scene throughout the next few hours to clean up and make sure the fire did not reignite.

There was a body in the process of being cremated and that, in conjunction with the high external temperatures caused the fire, the chief said.

No one was hurt in the blaze. The four people in the building at the time escaped without injury, the chief said.

The crematorium is still functioning. It was only the area around the smoke stack that was affected, Silver said. No funeral was going on at the time.

Firefighters and apparatus from North Hampton and Seabrook assisted at the scene, while units from Portsmouth, Rye, Hampton Falls and Stratham supplied station coverage for the town.

"I woke up to all this," said Carlie Beckhusen of Hampton, who lives just down the road from the funeral home. "My mom was like 'Let's go for a ride.'

"When you see a lot of (fire units from) different (communities) come in, you get curious about what's going on," Beckhusen said.

Beckhusen's mother, Dawn, said seeing the smoke and hearing the sirens caused her personal concerns.

"I wanted to make sure it wasn't the nursing home," she said. "My mom worked as head cook and I am very familiar with the residents."

A resident at that home, — the Partridge House Assisted Living facility located next door to the funeral home — called the whole event "exciting."

"You don't see something like that happen, especially at a funeral home," said Marty O'Connor. "It's weird. That's all I keep saying is that it's so weird."

Rye firefighters assist Hampton during a fire call at Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory on a hot Monday afternoon.
[Deb Cram photo]

Firefighters respond to a fire in the roof at Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory on Monday afternoon. Black smoke billows from the smoke stack where the fire started in the crematory during the cremation of a body and extended into the roof taking area firefighters about an hour to control.
[Deb Cram photo]

Letters to the Editor

Thanks for response to Funeral Home fire

To the Editor:

The Remick & Gendron Funeral Home — Crematory would like to thank all the responders to the fire at our facility on Monday July 20, 2009. Their reactions were prompt, efficient and totally professional.

A special thanks to Chief Silva and his team of firefighters from Hampton, as well as the assistance of our neighboring fire departments from Seabrook, North Hampton, Hampton Falls, Portsmouth, Rye and Stratham. Because of their swift actions, the damage to our facility was very minimal and we are able to continue serving area families in their time of need without interruption.

It is certainly reassuring to know that we have professionals like these people on our side whenever needed. Thanks again to all those involved!

Jack Gendron
Remick & Gendron