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Fire destroys apartment house at Basin Farm

WESTMINSTER—Fire broke out Tuesday morning at the Basin Farm on 175 Basin Farm Rd.

No injuries or deaths were reported, but the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross reports that “a number of people” have been left homeless.

The Basin Farm is located in North Westminster. It is owned by the Twelve Tribes, a religious organization.

According to a post on its website, www.twelvetribes.org, “a chimney fire ignited in the floor system of the second floor of the Farm House. The fire spread very quickly, but thankfully all of the 30 people were able to get out of the building.”

According to Keene Mutual Aid, the first call was received at 7:22 a.m. When fire crews arrived, they found a 2.5-story wood-frame house that had been subdivided into apartments fully engulfed in flames.

Fire departments from Westminster, Rockingham, Bellows Falls, Saxtons River, Putney, and North Walpole, N.H., battled the fire inside the residence for about an hour before switching to an exterior attack.

Crews from Alstead, Chesterfield, Langdon, and Charlesdown, N.H., and West Dummerston also assisted.

Two Red Cross Disaster Services volunteers were at the scene to meet with those affected by the fire and ensure that their emergency needs are met, spokesman Doug Bishop said in a news release.

Traditionally, the Red Cross helps with temporary lodging and assistance for food and clothing, but Bishop said that, for now, “the residents may have other avenues available to them to help with these emergency needs.”

“We know all things work together for the good,” according to the Twelve Tribes website. “It will take us some time and help to rebuild.”

Bishop said this was the 10th Red Cross Disaster Relief response to a house since Jan. 1.

In 2013, Bishop said that the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley disaster unit was called upon 179 times.

Route 121 in North Westminster was closed for much of the morning while crews dealt with the fire.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #236 (Wednesday, January 8, 2014). This story appeared on page A5.

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