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TIM JEAN/Staff photo. Yellow caution tape blocks access to the house at 20 Winding Pond Road last week after a fire caused heavy damage to the first and second floors.

LONDONDERRY — A blaze that displaced a man and his two young children started in the laundry room, according to fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie.

Firefighters from three towns battled the blaze March 28. It was knocked down in about 25 minutes, according to MacCaffrie.

But the fire at 20 Winding Pond Road had taken its toll.

"There was quite a bit of damage," MacCaffrie said.

There was an estimated $150,000 in water, smoke and heat damage to the townhouse's basement and first and second floors, he said.

Although the cause hasn't been determined, the fire began in the laundry room and is not suspicious, MacCaffrie said

Owner Charles England and his family left the home two hours before the fire was reported at 8:43 p.m. by a passer-by who saw the flames, MacCaffrie said.

Firefighters responded from Londonderry, Derry and Windham. Crews from Auburn, Litchfield and Hudson covered Londonderry's fire stations.

While firefighters were checking the burning home, two cats escaped to safety, MacCaffrie said.

"The minute they opened the basement door, the cats flew out," he said.

A firefighter caught one, but lost his grip when the cat scratched him. The frightened felines dashed into the woods, MacCaffrie said.

Kayla Gauvin, who lives next door, was not home when the fire broke out. Gauvin said she was surprised to suddenly receive a phone call saying an alarm in her home had gone off.

As smoke and fire rose from the building, firefighters forced their way into her townhouse at 19 Winding Pond Road to evacuate anyone inside.

She arrived home to find fire trucks surrounding the complex at Century Village.

"They broke down my door," she said. "It was a really scary (fire)."

Firefighters remained at the scene until about 11:30 p.m., MacCaffrie said.

England and his family received assistance from the American Red Cross. MacCaffrie said they probably won't be able to return for at least four months.

Town records show the home, built about 1978, is assessed at $208,600.

England could not be reached for comment.

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