Iconic red barn destroyed in Lyme. House saved by quick-thinking firefighters. Lyme firefighters first to the scene. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Bruni & M. Mundy)

Friday the 13th Fire Destroys Iconic Lyme Barn

Submitted 6 months ago
Created by
Dave Celone

Attached House, Donkeys, and Dogs All Saved!

Thanks to the expert tactical decision-making of the Lyme and Hanover fire chiefs, Mike Mundy and Mike Hinsley, a multi-alarm blaze that destroyed an iconic Lyme red barn just north of town at 7 Hamilton Lane, did not destroy the attached home of Elaine and Frank Neal.

The aftermath of the blaze.

Over 4,000 feet of fire hose was deployed to put out the blaze on Friday the 13th when the homeowners were at a medical appointment at DHMC.

Elaine surveys the remains of the blaze.

A quick-thinking neighbor who saw the smoke immediately called 911, then ran into the house and grabbed the owner's checkbook, their car keys, and their two dogs who were too frightened to move. He got the truck and dogs away from the house as fire departments arrived. Three men installing glass from Granite State Glass at the Lyme School also ran over to help get the animals and other valuables out of the house.  Six towns responded to the alarm.

The Neal's three donkeys and two dogs made it out.

The Lyme pumper with 2,000 gallon capacity was first on the scene. Then came Hanover. The two chiefs decided it was best to save the house and directed all hoses on the barn where it attached to the house. The house suffered smoke damage and some interior roof damage, as well as plenty of melted vinyl siding on its north-facing side, but otherwise the house was saved. 

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The fire is believed to have been caused by a leaf-blower's lithium ion battery charger that exploded. A full investigation has yet to be completed.

Bicycles and debris after the blaze was put out.

The owners lost a great deal, including a book collection and family heirlooms such as Elaine's grandmother's hand-made Christmas ornaments and firefighters' leather belts to have been passed on to a daughter who is a firefighter in Georgia. But they remained grateful and optimistic knowing they and their animals were safe. 

I can remember fondly my days of watching Frank mow grass and cut paths through the 20-acre conserved field next to his house and red barn for walkers and skiers. Now his Kubota tractor is barely discernible, a blackened hunk of melted metal framing. Other items destroyed include antique sleds, a double-barrel cider press from the early 1900's, and many tools and equipment.

Frank's Kubota tractor. It's mowing days are over.

The owners are deciding whether and what to rebuild. They're still in the clean-up stage which will take some time. Elaine's gardens were badly singed, but she found her pruning shears undamaged as she headed out to her gardens with her husband for some quiet and thoughtful reflection.

A burned book shard blown into the green field is a solemn reminder of the barn that was.


Dave Celone writes for the dailyuv.com under the moniker Poetic Licence. Tune into his posts (for free) by Clicking Here or visiting this link: http://dailyuv.us11.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=3b0a3ea19ca8d7b499b2203de&id=8d286dabb7  

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