By Chris Outcalt
Hampton Union, Friday, February 16, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON BEACH -- "Don't bother coming; it's gone."
Sheltered from the blizzard conditions outside, Steve and Ruth D'Urso called the building owners to tell them what happened: Flames had just burned through two seasonal houses 25 feet across the street.
"Gone, gone, gone," repeated Ruth as she watched clusters of firefighters sift through the remains of the buildings. "This is horrible. This is unbelievable."
Multiple fire departments battled a blaze on the corner of Epping and Dover streets in Hampton Beach on Wednesday afternoon. The fire rendered two buildings a complete loss and caused damage to another three.
Ruth called 911 as soon as her husband saw flames. "I've never called 911 before," said Ruth, who lives at 13 Dover St. "I thought it was a joke when he first told me to call."
Forty-five minutes later, the buildings were gone.
"I've haven't seen a fire like that since I lived in Salem years ago," she said. "It just caught with all the wind."
Tom Morgenstern, a local contractor who lives on Ocean Boulevard, watched the fire from the D'Ursos' house. He built one of the homes threatened by the blaze.
"I'm amazed at how quickly (the firefighters) got here," he said. "They did a great job. It seemed like once that second building caught, it was gone in less than 10 minutes."
Ruth made a pot of coffee for the firefighters and was already making arrangements to put up anybody who was displaced by the fire.
Fire crews had the blaze under control by 4 p.m.