Derry Medical Center blaze caused by improper disposal of smoking materials, officials say

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Jul. 28—A four-alarm fire that broke out at a medical office complex in Derry Wednesday was caused by smoking materials discarded into some nearby mulch, fire officials said.

Crews responded to reports of a fire at the Derry Medical Center at Overlook Medical Park, 6 Tsienneto Road, around 3:22 p.m. Wednesday.

Upon arrival outside the three-story building, firefighters reported encountering heavy fire on the front side of the building, extending to the second floor, according to a news release from the Derry Fire Department.

The hospital was occupied when the fire broke out, and people were evacuating when the fire department arrived.

Fire crews worked to extinguish fire on all three floors, while removing smoke from all three levels of the building. Over a dozen agencies from across the area responded to the fire, including Londonderry, Windham, Salem, Auburn, Chester, Hampstead, Manchester, Nashua, Hudson, Plaistow, Pelham, Atkinson, Raymond, Hooksett, Atkinson, and a Trinity E.M.S. ambulance.

Three firefighters were transported to Parkland Medical Center in Derry with minor injuries. They were treated and released, Derry Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Haggart said.

The Derry Fire Department said around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday that the fire was under control, but that firefighters were checking for hot spots. The fire reignited on the roof early Thursday morning, but fire crews were able to knock it down in under an hour, officials said.

No civilians were hurt during the fire, according to the news release. The medical offices were occupied by staff and patients at the time of the incident, officials said.

The Derry Fire Prevention Bureau has completed its preliminary origin and cause investigation, and Bureau Director Dave Eastman and Inspector Michael Garone said witness interviews and sourced photographs/video from bystanders and social media platforms show the cause of the fire to be improper disposal of smoking materials which were discarded in combustible mulch landscaping.

The fire is classified as accidental.

The Derry Medical Center said in a statement its Derry office would be closed for several days, and providers would see patients in other offices.

"We are incredibly thankful that everyone evacuated 6 Tsienneto Road safely yesterday during the fire," Derry Medical Center officials said in a statement. "We are so very grateful to Derry (police and fire) for their quick response and leadership, as well as all of the fire departments from surrounding towns who responded. DMC providers and staff did a remarkable job keeping everyone calm and safe in a very stressful situation."

"We will keep you updated on progress as far as getting back to business as usual at 6 Tsienneto Rd. and in the meantime patient care is still our top priority. We will continue to re-route providers and patients to our other practice locations until we are able to return to our beloved Derry office."