Video by Jeffrey Hastings/Frame of Mind Photo
MANCHESTER, NH – What began as a routine house fire call ended like an episode of Animal Planet, after Manchester Firefighters rescued a menagerie of animals from a home at 247 Patricia Lane.
A fire was first reported at about 11:53 a.m. on July 13 at 247 Patricia Lane. Upon the arrival of fire companies, smoke was encountered coming from the first floor of the occupied single family home that was being used as a primary residence as well as an in-home pet sitting / grooming business. The fire stayed at one alarm and was brought under control in about 30 minutes.
The single family home was occupied by three occupants with only an adult female being home at the time of fire. This occupant, Jessica Mitchell, 41, was transported to the Elliot Hospital via AMR for smoke inhalation after she reentered the home several times to save a group of dogs. Crews rescued 15 dogs, several puppies, as many as six birds, and one pot-bellied pig. One cat was found deceased in the home by firefighters during suppression operations.
During the course of fire suppression activities, city fire marshals were busy conducting interviews and compiling displaced tenant information.
After a complete and thorough origin and cause investigation by city fire marshals, it was determined that the fire was a result of a malfunctioning commercial pet dryer that was in use at the time.
The estimated loss from the fire is approximately $50,000 and the structure needs to be cleaned and repaired prior to occupancy.
Fire Chief Goonan wants to remind the public to remember to get out and stay out if there is a fire in your home as any attempts to reenter a burning structure can have very serious unintended consequences such as injury or death.
Manchester District Chief Al Poulin said the animals were all in good condition and had adequate food and care and were turned over to the care of Mitchell’s husband, when he got to the scene.
The Health Department and Animal Control conducted an inspection of the home, owned by Peter Conley, once the scene was cleared by Manchester fire crews, and cited the owner.
Philip Alexako, Chief of Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness for the city, said that after an inspection of the premises, Conley was given 10 days to correct what Alexako said was a “public health nuisance” inside the home, under RSA:147, including animal feces and urine throughout the home on the first and second levels. The condition was “further exacerbated” by water from fire hoses used to extinguish the fire.
“Myself and another supervisor met with field staff out there by request of the fire department, which had some concerns. When we arrived there were no animals in the home, just a few outside being relocated,” Alexako said. “We met with the property owner, who was very cooperative, and assessed the dwelling and determined a public health nuisance existed.
Under the order, the residents are allowed to go in to retrieve belongings and develop a work plan to correct the situation, Alexako said. But no one is allowed to live in the home overnight until the property is rechecked and cleared by the health department.
Alexako said there is no hazard to anyone outside of the dwelling.