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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chimney Fires Damage to Homes

Two Northborough homes were damaged by chimney fires Tuesday night while families attempted to keep warm in the face of the continued power outage, officials said.

Fires were reported at 53 Assabet Dr. and 13 Crawford St. at around 11 p.m., within 11 minutes of each other, said Northborough Fire Chief and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator David M. Durgin.

“People are trying to stay warm,” Durgin said. “We’ve been without power since Saturday night. … People are firing up chimneys and stoves that haven’t been used in many years. They’re not necessarily ready to go right now.”

The fires were under control at both homes in under an hour, he said. Both residences were occupied at the time of the fires but everyone made it out safely. One neighbor of the Assabet Drive residence was transported to Marlborough Hospital due to smoke inhalation.

The Crawford Street home sustained only minor damage, and the family was able to return there. The Assabet Drive home is no longer liveable, Durgin said. The resident declined shelter and assistance, instead opting to stay with people she knew in Westborough, Durgin said.

Four alarms were transmitted in order to get the help necessary from neighboring towns to deal with both fires, he said. The Northborough Fire Department received help from Berlin, Boylston, Marlborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Westborough, and Hudson.

Especially in towns without power, residents should check to make sure their smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are able to run on batteries, and that the batteries still work, Durgin said.

“It’s a lot of things people don’t think about everyday and don’t want to think about because it’s scary,” Durgin said.

Northborough was particularly hard-hit by the storm, he said.

“The tree devastation is just remarkable. I have not seen anything of this magnitude, aside from the tornado this spring, in my entire 38 years. … We literally have months of work” ahead of us.

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