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Assisted living facility owner thankful no one seriously injured in barn blaze

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent


July 17. 2017 9:09PM




Firefighters from 17 communities helped stop a fire from spreading in a storage barn located close to a nursing home in Durham Sunday. (COURTESY Todd Selig)

DURHAM — The owner of an assisted living facility in Durham is grateful nobody was seriously injured during a four-alarm fire Sunday evening.

John Randolph, who owns Harmony Homes at the corner of Stagecoach Road and Route 108, said the fire started minutes after he put his lawnmower into a detached storage barn about 150 feet away from the residential home which houses 23 people. Randolph witnessed the lawnmower catch fire, and called 911.

After being evacuated from the living facility, a man and a woman were transported to the hospital. One was treated for chest pain, the other tripped and fell, according to Assistant Fire Chief Dave Emanuel.

Emanuel said firefighters were called to the scene at 5:26 p.m. A total of 17 neighboring communities responded and crews were able to confine the fire to one portion of the three-part barn. Emanuel credited continuous training with surrounding towns and cities with their ability to stop the fire from spreading in the old, dry building.

“They were able to hold it by using an aggressive attack,” Emanuel said.

Because the weather was hot, firefighters were rotated out every 30 minutes, Emanuel said.

“Most fire departments have a physical fitness program, but you’re a professional athlete at that point. It’s stressful,” Emanuel said. After completing a rotation, firefighters were sent to a rehabilitation area where their medical vital signs were assessed.

Randolph said the living facility’s residents were evacuated to a shady area, and their vital signs were also monitored. The average resident is in their 80s, and one woman is 104, Randolph said.

Randolph said he felt “like a blessed man” Monday morning. He had breakfast with one of the people who was…

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