A grill is the likely cause of a fire on Sunday night that left a house in Hampton uninhabitable, the ninth structure fire in the town this year, according to acting Hampton Fire Chief Michael McMahon.

McMahon told Seacoast Current the couple who lived at the house on Walnut Ave was alerted by neighbors their deck was on fire and were able to safely get out along with their pet cat.

The neighbors offered to let the couple stay at their home overnight.

"It's a pretty tight-knit neighborhood so I wasn't surprised," McMahon said.

The fire spread to a deck and the rear of the one-story house and North Hampton was called in to assist, according to McMahon, who said the house is uninhabitable.

The fire was contained to the rear of the house but there was extensive smoke and heat damage, McMahon said.

The residents and firefighters were not injured in the fire. McMahon said firefighters got the flames knocked down quickly.

McMahon said the houses in the neighborhood were originally cottages when they were built in 1958. Additions were later built onto many of the homes.

Although the fire was at least the 9th in Hampton in 2021 McMahon said they are all unrelated. The last several fires were caused by improper disposal of smoking materials, according to the chief.

"We've had a bit of an uptick in building fires recently but they're independent and not related to each other in any way. We don't have somebody going around setting fires. They've all been accidental and coincidental in time," McMahon said.

McMahon said he suggested residents need to be careful about how they dispose of smoking materials and to keep their grills away from the house off the deck.

"You're not allowed to have grills on decks in multi-family dwellings. Single-family, essentially you can do what you want. But it doesn't make it a good practice," McMahon said.

A GoFundMe page was created to help the couple.

"Thom and Dana spent many years working on their beloved home and we all have enjoyed many festivities and family milestones there," Cy Miller wrote on the page.

Firefighters in front of fire damaged shed
Firefighters in front of fire damaged shed (Robert Nettles via Hampton Fire Company)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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