PELHAM, N.H. (WHDH) - Firefighters from nine towns braved frigid temperatures Tuesday night to extinguish a three-alarm house fire in Pelham, New Hampshire, that left the town’s police chief and his family displaced right before Thanksgiving.

Crews responding to a reported house fire on Regis Drive just before 9:30 p.m. took on a blaze that had started in a garage, jumped over to a Jeep in the driveway, and spread into the house, according to the Pelham Police Department.

Police Chief Joseph Roark, his wife, and their two children were inside the home but made it out safely, along with their dog and two pet turtles.

“It’s been very difficult. We’ll bounce back. It could have been worse,” an emotional Roark said.

The Roark family had lived in the home for 10 years.

They were sitting together watching television when the home suddenly went up in flames.

“My sons have no shoes. It was that fast,” Roark said.

The home’s secluded neighborhood and icy roads made battling the flames a difficult task for firefighters, who struggled to get water to the scene.

Pelham police Lt. Anne Perriello was the first to respond to the scene, a task made even more difficult because of whose home it was.

“It’s very emotional,” Perriello said. “We’re going to make sure he has a roof over his head.”

After working for hours in the bitter cold, firefighters knocked down the flames, exposing what little was left of the house.

Despite the tragedy on the eve of Thanksgiving, Roark said all is not lost.

“The house is gone. It is what it is,” he said. “I’m just thankful that I have my family. We’re healthy and we’ll recover.”

The home was deemed a total loss as officials investigate the cause of the fire.


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