HAMPTON, N.H. — A 7-year-old boy perished in a three-alarm fire early Wednesday despite repeated attempts by firefighters to save the child as the wind-swept blaze tore through the single-family home, officials said.
The house at 32 Thorwald Ave. was engulfed in flames when Hampton firefighters first arrived shortly after midnight, according to fire officials.
“Due to the volume of fire and the wind conditions, it was rapidly extending to the exposures on all three sides,’’ said Hampton fire Captain Justin Cutting in a press briefing at the scene. “Companies began to attack the fire, protect the exposures, and conduct some primary searches of the building.”
He reiterated that the house was “heavily involved and there was no access made” to the residence. He said the wind contributed to the spreading of the blaze.
In a statement, the Hampton Fire Department said seven of the eight people in the home managed to escape, and several attempts were made to rescue the 7-year-old, “but due to the fire conditions crews were unable to gain access inside the house.”
Fire Captain Michael McMahon said the boy was found in the back of the home. Officials did not release his name; an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.
New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Paul J. Parisi said at the scene that a woman who suffered burns and smoke inhalation was taken to an area hospital, then transferred to a Boston hospital. Her condition wasn’t available.
Neighboring residents had to be evacuated, and the fire spread to a house next door at 34 Thorwald Ave., which also sustained significant damage, fire officials said.
Parisi said the origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation.
Officials believe there were three adults and five children in the home when the fire started. Some occupants were residents, and others were visitors, Parisi said.
He said the child who was killed apparently did not live there.
Sharon Morey and Teresa Paradis of Live and Let Live Farm, an animal rescue shelter in Chichester, N.H., went to the scene of the fire Wednesday and picked up 16 guinea pigs that survived the blaze.
They said the woman who lives at 32 Thorwald Ave. had about 30 other guinea pigs that perished in the fire.
Morey, the director of marketing for Live and Let Live, said the woman operated a guinea pig sanctuary, and they had picked up 84 guinea pigs from her over the course of the summer.
Paradis, executive director of Live and Let Live, said the woman lived there with her grandson, who has disabilities.