Fire Causes $1 Million In Damage To Hingham Home

Fire Causes Million In Damage To Hingham Home
Fire officials in Hingham believe a bag of hot ashes from a pellet stove left on wooden steps started the four-alarm blaze that destroyed more than half of a sprawling Crooked Meadow Lane house Tuesday.
Fire Chief Mark Duff said occupants of the house, in a residential neighborhood off Route 228, were “very fortunate” to escape the fire without injury.
Officials believe the fire was smoldering within the walls of the 8,000-square-foot home for several hours before homeowner Penny Collins-Siridee smelled smoke.
It took firefighters from eight South Shore towns about six hours to bring the blaze under control. Two Hingham firefighters suffered minor injuries when they slipped and fell on ice.
“This was one of the most stubborn fires I’ve ever seen,” said Hingham Fire Capt. William Powers, a 22-year veteran.
Powers said the family is fortunate that the fire didn’t take hold until later in the morning.
“If this fire was at 2 or 3 in the morning, I’m afraid the outcome would’ve been a lot worse,” Powers said.
The location of the house on a heavily wooded lot at the end of a winding driveway about a quarter-mile long made it more difficult for firefighters to get at the blaze.
When firefighters arrived on Crooked Meadow Lane they stopped at the wrong address. Duff said a large amount of steam rising off the roof of a neighbor’s house at first appeared to be the house that was on fire.
Duff said that delayed the response by less than two minutes.
Duff said it was challenging driving fire equipment up the icy driveway. To get enough water, firefighters had to run hoses off the single hydrant on Crooked Meadow Lane and another hydrant about a half mile away on Main Street.
Collins-Siridee and Kevin Kernan, a contractor working on an addition to the home, said about 45 minutes passed from the time 911 was called and the first sprays of water hit the house.
“It was already engulfed to the roof, full-blown,” Collins-Siridee said. “I’m in the woods here, and it was a very difficult fire to put out.”
Duff said an early estimate put the damage at more than million. According to town records, the house and surrounding property are valued at about .7 million.
Collins-Siridee, keeping warm with family members and friends inside a minivan in front of her home, said the part of the house she lived in was destroyed. She planned to stay with family Tuesday night but, still shaken, was unsure of her plans beyond that.
“I need to clear my head and put some thoughts together,” she said. “Thank God there were no injuries.”
Kernan, the contractor who is also a family friend, agreed.
“I feel so sorry for her, but it’s fortunate no lives were lost,” he said. “I can rebuild anything exactly how it was.”
It was about 10 a.m. when Kernan, working in the middle of the house, smelled smoke and ran to the other end of the house. He found Collins-Siridee trying to douse the fire on the steps with water.
But Kernan soon realized the fire was inside the wall. He said he heard “crackling” and removed part of the exterior wall with a crowbar and could see the fire had already spread and called 911.
Collins-Siridee and Kernan escaped. Collins-Siridee’s 17-year-old daughter, Kelly, was at school.
A couple and their infant who were renting a completed addition at the opposite end of the house from where the fire started also escaped unharmed. Noah Rafalko said he and his family were “glad to be OK.”
The fire never reached that end of the house. Powers said firefighters cut trenches in the roof that kept the fire from spreading to a section that was under construction and the occupied addition.
Duff said it was unclear whether there were working fire detectors in the home. It is unlikely detectors would have alerted occupants to the fire any sooner than they discovered it because it was contained in the walls for so long, Duff said.

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