Thursday, September 18, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;47.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-09-18 01:33:58
Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family safe after three-alarm fire heavily damages Amherst home

AMHERST – The Maguires thought their house painter was joking when he told them over the phone that their home was on fire.

“He asked, ‘Where are you? Are you out of the house?’ ” Vincent Maguire said of the life-altering moment Monday evening when he called the painter from a restaurant to say the family would be a little late meeting him at their Blueberry Hill Road home. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

AMHERST – The Maguires thought their house painter was joking when he told them over the phone that their home was on fire.

“He asked, ‘Where are you? Are you out of the house?’ ” Vincent Maguire said of the life-altering moment Monday evening when he called the painter from a restaurant to say the family would be a little late meeting him at their Blueberry Hill Road home.

“I heard him say over his shoulder, ‘The family’s out of the house,’ and I asked, What’s going on?’ ”

What was going up was their home of seven years, which caught fire around 7:30 p.m. Monday, apparently because of a problem with the propane stove in the kitchen.

The painter, arriving for the appointment, heard an explosion, which was probably a window blowing out from the fire, and called 911.

The Maguires raced home, but could only stand in the street and watch the flames pour out of their house. The building was largely destroyed, but nobody was injured –
not even the family’s pets, thanks to quick work by police and fire officials.

“The first officer on the scene heard something screaming and thought it was a baby,” Dale Maguire said. “He went inside, and it was the cat. He rescued it.”

“When we got here, it was sitting inside his cruiser,” Vincent Maguire said.

Fire officials and paramedics from several towns also went into the burning house, searching for anybody trapped, and rescued the family’s two standard poodles.

Vince Maguire, an engineer who worked for Mitre Corp., and Dale Maguire, who works for Merchants Auto, have been spending the days since then trying to salvage memories and furniture ruined by flame, smoke or water.

They are accompanied by younger sons Patrick, who graduated from Souhegan High School in June and will attend Drexel University, and Johnny, who will soon be returning to the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Their eldest son, Bob, is a second lieutenant in the Army and is in Washington. He had a question when he heard about the fire: What happened to a bassinet that belonged to his grandparents and which he hoped to use for his soon-to-be first-born?

“It’s been in the family three generations,” Dale Maguire said sadly.

The bassinet was stored in the attic, which was destroyed.

The only good to come out of the blaze has been the help and support of friends and neighbors – from families with children on the Souhegan High football team, on which Patrick played, to co-workers at Merchant’s Auto to neighbors; even complete strangers.

“I don’t know who this is from,” Vincent Maguire said as he fingered an envelope with $25, addressed to the family, that had been left in their mailbox.

“There has been such an outpouring of generosity. Even little things,” Dale Maguire said.

She mentioned a woman who “gave me a makeup kit. She said she thought, What would she want in the morning as we tried to recover from this?”

The family said it is also grateful to the Granite State Dog Training Center in Amherst, which donated the time and materials to bathe and groom the dogs. One poodle is still coughing from the smoke, but seems on the mend.

In the end, they know it could have been much worse.

“If this had happened a few hours later – it could have been bad,” Vincent Maguire said.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@granitegeek).