CONCORD — A couple in their 80s are missing and presumed dead after a three-alarm fire destroyed their Concord home early today, fire officials said.
Shortly before noon today, firefighters carried two bodies out of what was once a Cape-style single-family home. The building was reduced to a pile of charred rubble by an intense fire that sent flames shooting some 40 feet into the air, according to officials and neighbors.
The identities of the deceased were not immediately available, but authorities and neighbors said the only occupants of the home on Nancy Drive were a married couple in their 80s who had lived in the home for decades.
“They were very close. They were devoted to each other,” said David Goranson, 66, who has lived next door for more than 40 years. “They took care of each other.”
The wife, said Goranson, was mostly homebound, but her husband was active and kept up the home and their garden. The husband would often be out and about, he said, mowing the yard or walking around.
The pair often watched neighbors’ dogs, said Goranson. They used to have dogs of their own, he said, and may have missed having the animals.
Concord Fire Chief Mark R. Cotreau said when firefighters arrived at 3:13 a.m. the building was fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters attempted to get inside but were beaten back by heavy fire.
“The fire conditions were untenable,” Cotreau.“The building was fully involved. We attempted entry but could not get in.’’
Cotreau said the blaze was brought under control within an hour despite one nearby hydrant being inoperative.
Goranson said that he and his wife woke up when their electricity went out and saw the flames next door were shooting 40 feet into the sky.
“The sky was orange; it was blazing,” he said. “We saw the flames. We hoped against hope that they got out.”
Only the charred chimney and a garage were left standing later this morning as fire crews sifted through the rubble. Firefighters had knocked down the single wall that had remained after the flames were out.
According to town assessing records, the building was a 1,500-square-foot Cape-style house with two bedrooms and an attached garage, assessed at $424,600.
The home has been owned by the same couple since 1955, according to town records.
Nine towns joined Concord firefighters in battling the blaze, officials said.
No other injuries were reported.
State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said at the scene that his investigators will try to determine a cause.