Sunday's Fire Completely Gutted Penobscott Hotel
Hampton Union, February 1, 1962
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Local fire fighters were called out at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning. to battle the second major blaze to take place at Hampton Beach in less than two weeks.
Hampered by near zero temperatures and high winds, firemen fought one of the most stubborn blazes in Hampton's history for nearly three hours. Sunday's fire completely gutted the Penobscott Hotel [sic, should read Penobscot Motel] located at 499 Ocean Boulevard, only a short distance from the Hotel Allen, scene of the earlier major blaze. Damage is expected to exceed $50,000.
The fire, which was discovered by two women driving by the scene, was reported to firemen at the beach fire station. Engines 2, 3 and 4 and Ladder 1 responded to find the fire already well underway, within the confines of the building. Although located in a heavily congested area with cabins and other buildings completely surrounding the flaming building, the fighters were able to keep the blaze confined to the hotel.
Heavy smoke brought on by strong winds billowed forth throughout the fire as firemen played thousands of gallons of water into the building from all four sides. The aerial ladder once again proved its worth as it was moved to various vantage points for fighting the fire.
Firemen worked in relays on the ladder truck and in handling the other hoses because of the cold weather. Water sprayed over the firemen leaving their coats completely covered by ice. Although actually under control without the need for summoning mutual aid, the all-out was not sounded until nearly 7:30 a.m. as the weary men began the task of rolling up the hoses and cleaning equipment.
Immediately summoned to the scene was Deputy Fire Marshal Herbert Whitney, who arrived as the last flames were being squelched and immediately entered the charred ruins with Chief Perley George for a complete investigation.
The cause of the fire was still undetermined this week, but Chief George, stated that it was still under investigation by insurance investigators and the state fire marshal's office.
The blaze, like that at the Hotel Allen, appeared to have started near the rear of the structure. Chief George stated that it was undoubtedly well underway before it was discovered.
The building contained approximately 40 rooms and was one of the oldest buildings on the beach. It is presently owned by Malcolm Filtronti of Beverly, Mass. The local chief said that the building had been partially occupied during the daytime recently, but that no one was in the hotel at the time of the fire.