Explosion, fire razes family home

Authorities: fire’s origin still unclear; homeowner, firefighter injured

  • A fire engulfed a single-family home at 236 Sanders Rd. on Thursday night. Monday, the cause of the fire remained unclear.<br/><br/>Photo courtesy Jaffrey Fire Department
  • A two-alarm fire destroyed the home of Hugh and Terry Landis of Jaffrey on Thursday night.<br/><br/>Photo courtesy Jaffrey Fire Department
  • In the days since Thursday's fire, the community has offered its support to the Landis family, who lost everything.<br/><br/>Courtesy photo

JAFFREY — The home of Hugh and Terry Landis was destroyed Thursday night in a two-alarm fire that firefighters say ignited following an explosion of unknown origins. No one was seriously injured, but two went to the hospital with fire-related injuries.

In the days since the fire, the arts community has come together in support of the family. Sunday, 100 or so people attended a benefit concert at the Trumpet Gallery in Peterborough. The Terry Landis Band — whose members include Terry Landis, Owen Landis and Ezra Landis — performed at the benefit, along with Mike Wakefield, Mike Cherry and Fred Simmons.

Monday, the cause of the fire was still unclear, according to Fire Chief David Chamberlain. He said the house is a total loss.

Two people were injured in the fire, Chamberlain said, including homeowner Hugh Landis, who suffered minor burns, and a firefighter who fell and injured his shoulder. Both men were treated at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough and later released, Chamberlain said.

The fire was reported at approximately 11:18 p.m. Thursday at 236 Sanders Rd. About 10 minutes after the call, the first firefighters arrived on scene and reported a fully engulfed single-family home with all of its occupants safely outside, Chamberlain said.

Four adults and an infant were home at the time, Chamberlain said. A pet cat was also home and escaped the flames uninjured, he said. Volunteers from the American Red Cross assisted the Landis family Thursday night at the scene with comfort kits, which include basic hygiene materials.

Because the home was built at the end of a Class 6 road that’s long, narrow and rough to navigate, Chamberlain said firefighters shuttled into the area on tankers and a sport utility vehicle. One Jaffrey fire engine was directly on scene, he said, while tankers brought water to the home, two tankers at a time.

Getting the fire under control took about two hours, Chamberlain said. Firefighters, though, did not clear the scene until Friday at 10:11 a.m.

An investigator with the N.H. Fire Marshall was on scene Friday morning, but Chamberlain said Monday the cause of the house fire has not yet been determined and remains under investigation.

Approximately 40 firefighters from Jaffrey, Peterborough, Dublin, Rindge, New Ipswich, Keene, Troy, Fitzwilliam, Marlborough, Greenville and Winchendon, Mass., as well as Jaffrey-Rindge Memorial Ambulance medics and Jaffrey police, responded to the fire.

Peterborough’s Trumpet Gallery had been planning its one-year anniversary concert to be held Sunday, but Thursday’s fire changed how the gallery chose to proceed with the event, Mona Adisa Brooks said Monday. After hearing about the devastation to the Landis family home, Brooks said she acted quickly to turn the concert into one that would benefit the family.

“It was very evident by yesterday’s crowd how many people absolutely love them,” Brooks said, noting that approximately 100 people attended the concert and donated generously. “They are an incredible family and the band is fantastic.”

The family is doing well under the circumstances, Brooks said. “They have an amazing, resilient spirit, but they do need our help.”

The gallery is continuing to seek donations, which can be mailed to Terry Landis, C/O Mono Adisa Brooks, 77 Cheney Ave., Peterborough NH, 03458.

Additionally, Cassie Cleverly of Dublin, a friend of the Landis family, said she is preparing a drop-off location where people can bring home and clothing essentials. For more information, Cleverly encouraged people to contact her at 563-7046 or at cassie.cleverly@gmail.com.

Cleverly said Monday that the Landis family is so thankful no one was seriously hurt in Thursday’s fire and that everyone is together. “They will definitely rise above this,” she said. “Despite everything, they see that silver lining.”

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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