KEENE, N.H. (WHDH) - Police and fire crews in southern New Hampshire responded to a large fire in Keene Friday night after a plane crashed into part of a residential building, killing those onboard the aircraft.

Swanzey Police asked drivers to avoid lower Main Street Friday night as crews responded to a “plane crash with building fire” at 7 p.m. Images of a fire in the area of 667 Main Street showed flames and a large plume of smoke developing between at least two buildings at the time.

The scene, near Keene State College, appeared to be just north of Keene Dillant-Hopkins Airport.

Gathering preliminary information, officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said an “unidentified aircraft crashed into a building north of Dillant/Hopkins Airport around 6:55 p.m.” and that the aircraft involved may have been a single-engine, Beechcraft Sierra plane.

The City of Keene later announced on Facebook that while no one inside of the building was injured, “those on the plane have perished.”

City officials did not specify how many people were onboard the aircraft and said new details will be announced when they become available.

The plane appeared to hit a shed/barn structure adjoining the residential units, where several people were inside at the time.

“At first I thought someone hit the building, then I thought it sounded like something hit the back parking lot,” said Scott Gauthier. “My mom went outside to check and then she started screaming ‘Get out of the house! Get out of the house!’ so I grabbed clothes and ran out of the house.”

“As soon as I came out, it was maybe a minute after that, the whole roof was on fire,” he said.

“I’m just thanking God that no one was hurt,” said Wayne Brown, the landlord of the damaged building. “My first report was that (the plane) grazed off of my house and hit the church and, you know, the kids are there on Friday nights so, all in all, God bless the people who were in the plane, but no one in the church was hurt – it didn’t touch the church.”

“I’m just sad for my tenants and (I’m) going to try to do anything I can to help them – that’s all you can do,” he added. “Buildings can be rebuilt – lives can’t be replaced.”

Authorities with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified and are investigating.

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