By Kyle Stucker
Hampton Union, April 22, 2014
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
A one-alarm fire caused significant damage Monday morning to a
Hampton Beach condominium and rendered all 24 units in the
four-story structure uninhabitable for the foreseeable future,
according to fire officials. [Kyle Stucker photo]
HAMPTON — A one-alarm fire caused significant damage Monday morning to a Hampton Beach condominium and rendered all 24 units in the four-story structure uninhabitable for the foreseeable future, according to fire officials.
Hampton Fire Chief Chris Silver said the fire started in the southeastern corner of an enclosed porch of 19 Atlantic Ave., Unit 7, around 11:19 a.m. The cause of the fire was still under investigation Monday afternoon, although Silver said it appeared the fire may have started around or above an exterior light mounted on the underside of the second-story porch.
Power and utilities were cut to the smoke- and water-damaged building, known as the Atlantic Oceanside Condominiums, as a result of the fire. Silver said residents wouldn't be able to live in the building until various portions of the building are repaired and inspected.
Building inspections may also lead to the replacement of some or all of the building's sprinkler system, which was activated Monday, because the exterior nozzle that allows firefighters to add water and pressure to the system broke apart and crumbled due to rust and age when the department tried to connect a line.
"That pipe would've just blown apart (if a line had been connected)," Silver said.
Deputy Fire Chief Jamie Ayotte said firefighters were "exceedingly lucky" Monday that the sprinkler system functioned properly. He said they were also fortunate because strong winds coming off the ocean didn't cause the fire to extend deeper within the building or extend to nearby structures.
Silver said the wind "made the fire look worse than it was" because it "pushed most of the smoke" into the western side of the building. He said the fire was contained inside Unit 7's porch, though.
The fire was under control by 11:43 a.m. No one required medical treatment due to the fire, and no one was home at Unit 7 during the fire, which is the third fire in the past week in Hampton.
Silver said cigarettes improperly discarded in coffee cans led to two fires last week, one at 21 High St. at 1:04 p.m. Monday and one at 19 Thorwald Ave. at 9:50 p.m. Thursday. Neither fire caused significant damage, according to Silver.
Investigators don't believe Monday's fire was caused by discarded smoking materials, although Silver asked that individuals take more caution when smoking.
Silver said the items should be fully extinguished before they are placed in an inflammable container or area.
Sections of Ocean Boulevard, Ashworth Avenue and surrounding Hampton Beach streets were partially closed while firefighters, the town's building inspector and the Hampton Police Department were on scene Monday morning and afternoon.