Epping fire at fuel depot draws massive response, river protected

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EPPING — Fire officials from Epping Fire and the New Hampshire Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the cause of a multi-alarm fire at North Atlantic Fuels on Depot Road, which drew over a hundred firefighters from across Southern New Hampshire on Saturday.

Responders, arriving at the scene at 4:30 p.m., encountered four tanker trucks containing oil fully engulfed in flames.

The intensity of the fire prompted multiple alarms, summoning additional personnel, water supply resources, and specialized services from numerous departments.

A critical response came from a specialized unit at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, equipped with high volumes of foaming agents.

This unit played a key role in quickly extinguishing the intense flames.

Prior to its arrival, responders had unsuccessfully attempted to contain the blaze using water.

Environmental concerns were heightened due to the proximity of the Lamprey River — a water source for Durham and the University of New Hampshire.

Crews worked diligently Saturday night, deploying absorbent pads and protective booms to prevent hazardous materials from spreading into the river.

As a precautionary measure, the Lamprey River Treatment facility temporarily ceased operations pending an assessment of potential contamination.

While investigators have pinpointed the fire’s origin, the New Hampshire Fire Marshal’s Office has indicated the incident does not seem to involve suspicious activities or criminal intent.

The fire resulted in the destruction of three tankers and the cab of a tractor-trailer.

North Atlantic Fuels, known for delivering firewood and wood pellets across southern Maine and the Seacoast, also distributes home heating oil, which is believed to have been the product burning during the incident.

In the aftermath, Epping Fire Rescue expressed gratitude to all mutual aid towns and responding personnel through a FaceBook post, acknowledging their critical support in managing the emergency.

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