PELHAM, N.H. (CBS) – A New Hampshire police chief’s home was destroyed by a fire late Tuesday night.
Flames broke out around 9:40 p.m. on Regis Drive in Pelham. A garage was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, and the fire extended to the house.
The home belongs to Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark, who has held the position since 2007.
“It’s just a very trying time. It hurts your pride, it’s difficult. But we’ll come back,” he told WBZ-TV.
Firefighters were warned to use caution while responding to the house fire because nearby Route 38 was a “sheet of ice” due to a Tuesday storm. Efforts were stopped two times during the night due to a lack of water.
Everyone was able to escape the fire safely. Two pet turtles were rescued from the fire.
Roark said he was watching T.V. in his home when he heard what sounded like a small explosion in the garage. The garage burst into flames within 30 seconds.
Still, he’s grateful for the outpouring of support that has reached him and his family in the last day. “I haven’t had a phone since last night, that’s in the fire. So hopefully I’ll get to thank everybody for the support,” Roark said.
Thirteen different fire departments from surrounding towns helped crews knock down the flames. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
“It is emotional but then you need to snap back into your work mode,” said Police Lt. Anne Perriello, who also responded to the scene. “Our job at that point is to get those firetrucks in and out of there.”
The Pelham Police Relief Association is collecting donations for Roark and his family. Gift cards can be dropped off 24/7 at the police station. Police asking residents not to donate household items because the family does not have a place to store them. An online fundraising page has also been established.