Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


June 13, 2013

Fires leave two families homeless

Two local families are at least temporarily homeless after a pair of house fires last week caused serious damage to their properties.

On Wednesday, June 5, the Nossiff family was driven from their 16 Cedar St. home after a two-alarm fire moved through the attic of the residence.

Two of Gabrielle and John Nossiff’s three sons were home at the time of the late-afternoon fire, but the sound of smoke detectors is credited with prompting a quick response to the blaze, according to Fire Chief Michael Mansfield.

No injuries were reported. Four dogs were removed from the home before crews arrived, Mansfield said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office and state police. Damage is estimated to be about $300,000, though the house could be livable if renovated properly by the owners, Mansfield said.

Earlier last week, on Monday, June 3, a fire that started in an overheated dehumidifier in the basement of 22 Marland St. forced a family of six from their home.

Tom Froburg was home with his wife, Robin, and their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren when the fire was reported at 5:04 a.m.

When crews arrived, smoke was billowing from the home. It took only 10 minutes to knock it down, Mansfield said, but by that time, the damage — estimated at $150,000 — was already done.

As Tom Froburg surveyed his home one day last week, he said the fire damaged primarily the basement and portions of the first floor as it traveled through the walls.

But it led to the discovery of damage in the home’s first-floor ceilings, evidence of a fire that took place long before the Froburgs bought the home about 30 years ago.

Every support beam and board for the second story was lined with glazed chunks of charred wood, the scars of a fire that Froburg believes occurred at least two owners before him.

The family, including the two grandchildren who were attending school in Haverhill after recently moving to Andover with their parents, sought temporary shelter in an Andover hotel through the American Red Cross. But Froburg said last week that they planned to have a trailer brought to their property so they could return and start rebuilding.

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