Pelham, New Hampshire police chief’s home destroyed in fire

"We're all alive. We're thankful," Chief Joseph Roark said Wednesday. "We'll be back."

A three-alarm fire engulfed and destroyed the home of the Pelham, New Hampshire police chief late Tuesday night.

The Regis Drive blaze, reported by residents around 9:41 p.m., spread throughout the ranch-style house, although Chief Joseph Roark and his family, including two pet turtles rescued by firefighters, were able to escape safely, according to a press release from the Pelham Fire Department.

“We’re all alive. We’re thankful,” Roark, fighting tears, told NBC10 Boston Wednesday morning. “We’ll be back.”

Fire officials, who received mutual aid from over a dozen fire departments in the region, said the building was “well involved” when they arrived on scene.

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As firefighters worked to stop the blaze from spreading, they had to stop twice “due to the lack of water supply in the area” and because of icy road conditions arriving crews had to navigate, according to the press release.

“Companies worked for hours overhauling the crawl spaces and areas affected by collapse with hidden pockets of fire,” Lt. Patrick Weaver wrote in the statement.

The home was deemed a total loss. The cause of the fire and where it started remained under investigation Wednesday morning. Weaver wrote that officials were focusing their review on the garage area.

Roark told reporters he was grateful nobody was injured.

A GoFundMe campaign to benefit the family was started by the Pelham Police Relief Association Wednesday. A post on the website says Roark and his family escaped the fire “with only the clothing on their backs.”

People who want to help the Roark’s can either donate to the fundraiser or drop off gift cards at the police station, according to the post. Organizers asked that “household items (clothing, blankets, toiletries etc.) not be donated as the family does not have a place to store them.”

“We’re deeply moved by the influx of inquiries asking how to help. First responders are accustomed to being there for community members in crisis; receiving help is unfamiliar territory to us,” the post reads. “The Roark Family has always been there for their community and is reluctant to ask for help.”

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