I had the opportunity to take pictures of a house burn in Hollis, NH. Because it was snowing I sent Anthony (engaged to our daughter Courtney) a text asking if they were still going to do the house burn. There is no such thing as a “Fair Weather Firefighter” … what was I thinking …
The fire department spent the morning using the house for drills and exercises. I saw a whiteboard filled with names, teams, assignments, etc. Practicing with fire in a house is the equivalent of using live ammunition in the military. There is always danger.
I arrived early afternoon just as they started the final burn. The roof was on fire and the smoke was rolling out of the soffits. The pump trucks were ready just in case.
The temperature was in the low 20’s with snow. I thought it would be cold standing around so I wore some of my wool hunting clothes. As the fire spread I didn’t realize how much heat can be generated by a house fire. I’m sure it would be worse if it had furnishings, etc. inside.
At one point I was 35 feet from the fire on a hill and couldn’t go any closer because of the intense heat. I always thought firefighter gear was for going inside the house. I realize now you can’t even get close to a burning structure because of the heat unless you are wearing the right equipment.
I took a picture of a “Fire Whirl” (also called a fire devil or fire tornado). Anthony said you don’t see fire whirls very often. Anthony and his brother, Nick, are in the fire department.
Once the roof rafters collapsed it was flat across the top. I walked around the side of the house where I could see into the basement. You could see the smoke and fire rolling across the ceiling.
The house had stairs on the far side of the basement to going to the main floor. Stair wells act like a chimney so the fire was roaring up the stairs. I took these pictures of the stairs zooming through a blown out window and across the basement.
It looked like the outer walls of the house burned up leaving the studs and the sheetrock. Ultimately the walls fell in which is what they are supposed to do.