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Firefighters Suppress Blaze In Historic Home

Minute Man National Historical Park

National Park News

On the afternoon of August 25th, a fire ignited on the roof of The Wayside, the historic home of Nathaniel Hawthorne and other authors on Lexington Road in Concord. Heat from the fire tripped a heat detector located in the attic of the structure and activated the fire alarm and fire suppression systems.  A sprinkler head in the attic within about eight feet of the fire also activated and sprayed the interior of the attic in the proximity of the fire and doused the burning roof. The Concord Fire Department responded and arrived within a few minutes of the alarm and sprinkler activation. They were soon joined by engines from nearby Lincoln and Bedford. Firefighters ventilated the eaves and doused the flames, then shut off the sprinkler system. The fire was contained within an area of the roof about five feet by four feet across; damage from the fire and roof ventilation was limited to that area. Water damage to the building extends to the two rooms directly below the fire. The process of covering the hole in the roof and protecting curatorial objects, including furniture and wall hangings in the affected rooms, began immediately after the fire department gave the all clear to reenter the building. A crew consisting of maintenance employees and interpretive and protection rangers worked into the evening to dry the interior and protect furnishings. The suppression system was then recharged. Damage has been estimated at between $30,000 and $50,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but believed to have been related to an electrical source.



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