Fire extensively damaged the home of Jeremy and Davita Briggs on Christmas Day on Hall Hill Road in Dixfield. The couple and their two young children were not home. Their dog perished in the fire. Submitted photo

DIXFIELD — An early evening fire Christmas Day caused extensive damage to a Hall Hill Road home, displacing a husband and wife and their two young children, and killing their dog.

Dixfield Fire Chief Scott Dennett said owners Jeremy and Davita Briggs were not home at the time of the fire, which was reported by neighbors around 6:14 p.m. “The fire had a good head start. It was a little while before neighbors noticed it and called it in,” Dennett said.

Dennett said he believes the fire started in the chimney area, but noted he’s waiting for a report from the Office of the State Fire Marshal to pinpoint the cause.

When the Dixfield Fire Co. arrived, there was heavy smoke coming from the left side of the 1½-story home, near the chimney, he said. “It had already burned through the wall and burned off the power line entrance cable, which was in the roadway.”

Dennett said on his arrival, “There were four of us there. I went to the door, because they said there was a dog inside. I called to the dog, but unfortunately, the smoke was so heavy, I’m sure the dog had perished by that time. On the initial attack, the dog was recovered, and Med-Care personnel attempted to revive it, but weren’t successful.”

Peru and Mexico fire departments responded, and Dixfield Fire Deputy Derek Bryant coordinated the attack on the interior.


Dennett said, “The floor in the stairway to the second floor was compromised, so we were not able to get up that stairway. So we had someone on an adjacent roof, and making that interior attack, finally got it knocked down.”

He said the fire extended into the main section of the house, the addition, and the main story section toward the garage received fire and smoke damage. There was smoke damage throughout the structure.

“The majority of your personal property is going to be a loss because a lot of it just can’t be adequately cleaned,” the chief said. “The smoke does as much damage as anything.”

The house, which Dennett believes was built in the 1940s, is on the hill beyond Irving Forest Products.

“Part of the problem initially was also water supply,” he said. “There’s two hydrants up there, but there just isn’t sufficient pressure there to draw as much water as needed,” he said.

There were no injuries, although Dennett said one firefighter slipped on the ice, but he was OK.


He estimated that firefighters cleared the scene in about four hours.

Dennett said Jeremy indicated the family has insurance.

Kevin Jamison, manager of Aubuchon Hardware in Rumford, and Briana Willhoite, immediately started a Facebook donation page for the Briggs family. By early Monday afternoon, $8,625 had been raised.

Jamison wrote that he has never seen so much money raised in a short period of time. “This is truly amazing and a testament to the love this community has for this family. I cannot express how thankful I am that you guys make this successful. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

On Monday morning, Davita posted on the Facebook donation site: “I have wanted to write a note of gratitude here, but it is just so inadequate compared to the abundant love, generosity and care everyone has bestowed upon my family. It is truly overwhelming and mind-boggling. I pray the Lord blesses each and every one of you.”

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