Peterborough resident grateful to firefighters after furnace malfunction

  • Members of the Peterborough Fire Department in Kathryn Dodge's basement. The Fire Department investigated smoke in Dodge's East Mountain Road home on Sunday afternoon. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/8/2020 9:23:41 PM
Modified: 1/8/2020 9:23:06 PM

Peterborough resident Kathryn Dodge said she is thankful for the Peterborough Fire Department’s professional and careful investigation after her East Mountain Road home filled with smoke Sunday afternoon. 

Dodge was alone in the house when the smoke alarm went off in the basement and the house started filling up with smoke. When she called 911, Dodge said she was instructed to leave the house. “The person kept me so calm,” she said. “Deputy Chief Wall came out within minutes… He was fantastic,” she said. 

“If someone calls us about an odor or smoke, we won't leave until we find out what was causing it,” Deputy Chief Brian Wall said. The Fire Department regularly conduct investigations to find out where smoke is coming from, he said. They have thermal imaging cameras to see through walls or if an appliance is overheating, and the members of the force have backgrounds in different trades that can be helpful in determining the problem, he said. 

“Her house did fill up with smoke on all three levels,” he said, and that Dodge did the right thing by calling right away and immediately evacuating to wait in her car. 

He said the crew determined the smoke was coming from a malfunctioning motor in the home’s oil burner, which was sending smoke through the entire house through the forced hot air heating system. He described it as an “unusual circumstance,” and even the furnace technician who came out hadn’t seen it happen before. 

Dodge said the members used large fans to minimize smoke damage in the house. “They were calm, competent and truly cared about resolving the issue,” Dodge said.  


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