Despite Response of Multiple Crews, Garage Devastated by Fire

January 29, 2016


by Bob Gibbs, including a report from the Windham Fire Department

A two-alarm fire at 18 Park St. in Windham had units from as many as seven towns on scene to fight the fire.  The fire was located in a large two-story barn-sized building that was being used as a garage and storage space.

Homeowner Philip Greco said that he had been using a plasma cutter to remove a rusted portion of a vehicle that he was repairing.  Greco stated, “I was busy cutting the metal and lost track of how hot it was getting.  The fire was up inside the car.  I emptied out two fire extinguishers to try to put it out.  It was a good thing it wasn’t a gasoline fire or it would have gone even faster.”  Owner stated the entire building was engulfed in flames in eight minutes.  A Windham fire official also said that when the first units arrived the building was engulfed.

First-arriving firefighters and police officers reported heavy fire coming from a wood frame garage that was detached from the home.  Initial reports were that there was no one inside the garage and that the garage housed several acetylene tanks, propane tanks and vehicles.  Due to the intensity of the fire, these tanks could be seen and heard exploding, therefore keeping firefighters at a safe distance while fighting the fire.  In addition, firefighters had a difficult time fighting the fire due to the fact that the neighborhood has no fire hydrants.  A tanker truck needed to be brought in to supply water.

It took firefighters approximately an hour to bring the blaze under control.  They remained on scene for some time later overhauling the area, which became labor intensive as debris from the roof had to be moved in order to wet down the fires beneath and to assist with the investigation.

Emergency units from Salem, Derry Londonderry, Pelham, Hudson, Litchfield and Hampstead were on the scene providing mutual aid.  Additional tankers from Litchfield, Hampstead, Hudson, Derry and Pelham were also called in to the scene for additional water supply needs.  The Salvation Army also sent an emergency unit to provide aid to any victims and to the firefighters.  Nashua and Hampstead provided station coverage.

No firefighters or civilians were injured in the fire.  The fire was investigated by Deputy Fire Chief William Martineau.