Family escapes fire that destroys 1800s Whitefield home

Posted:  Sunday, September 3, 2017 - 10:00am

Whitefield Fire Chief Scott Higgins on Sunday morning credited working smoke detectors with waking a family of six from their home on fire at 571 Townhouse Road. The fire was reported at 4:27 a.m., Higgins said.

If not for the detectors, he said, “There could have been a different outcome. It was a fast fire.”

It started in the laundry room area, Higgins said.

Homeowner John Pagurko and his wife and their four children escaped the wooden, 1800s farm-style home before firefighters arrived, Higgins said. When the first units arrived, most of the home was already on fire, he said. The fire destroyed the home, an excavator was used to look for hot spots, the last units cleared the scene about 9 a.m. and that portion of Townhouse Road was reopened to traffic, Higgins said.

A family dog was OK; two cats were missing, Higgins said.

The home was not insured, Higgins said. The Red Cross would be helping with the family’s immediate needs and friends and family were arriving at the property, he added.

The effort by all the departments was fantastic, Higgins said. Firefighters kept the fire from spreading to a barn about 20 feet from the home. The barn is a former Whitefield hospital, Higgins said. Whitefield, Alna, Windsor, Jefferson, Somerville and Pittston fire departments worked to put out the fire. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office also responded.