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Fire guts Twin Mountain's Grandview Lodge

Local man charged in connection with blaze claims it was accidental

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter

January 09, 2019
TWIN MOUNTAIN — On Dec. 30, emergency crews were dispatched to 440 Route 3 North in Twin Mountain for a report of a structure fire. That location was once the home of the 128 year old Grandview Lodge. The lodge has sat vacant for over a decade.

The evening of the fire, 30 year old Richard Vaughan of Twin Mountain had stayed in the lodge for one night, as there was no back door to the building, providing quick and easy shelter. Vaughan, who had nowhere else to go, lit a fire to keep warm. He had poured tequila on the fire to keep it going when it grew out of control. The Twin Mountain native then rushed to his mother's house and called for help immediately. A source close to Vaughan said that the fire was an accident, and that he feels terrible about what happened and has expressed remorse. Vaughan who was released from prison two days prior is being represented by Public Defender Jay Duguay.

Twin Mountain's Fire Chief, Jeremey Oleson, knew the fire was suspicious from the get go. "There hasn't been electricity in the building for years, so I immediately knew something was a bit off," he told the Democrat.

Investigators made their way to Vaughan's mother's home, where they found Vaughan with soot on his person. At first, Vaughan officials maintain that Vaughan took a threatening stance toward them and declined medical treatment; however, his attitude the following day, and he explained the truth as to what had occurred the night prior.

According to the affidavit, Vaughan had placed napkins and other small bits of wood into a ceramic bowl and lit a small fire. As it was dying out, the man used tequila to get it going again, at which point the fire grew too high and the room filled with smoke. Vaughan told investigators that he blacked out, but was able to make it to his mother's home located just three miles away.

Oleson explained, "The point of origin was located on the third floor of the building. We stayed on the outside of the building due to safety concerns. We needed so much water to put the fire out, there was no chance we could have saved it. A lack of water put us in a tough spot."

Presently, the building can still be seen smoldering.

Oleson explained, "When a 20,000 square foot building goes up like that it will smolder for awhile. We aren't in any kind of fire danger though."

The owners of the building, along with the town are currently coming up with a plan to haul the wreckage away. Oleson said, "They're just working through some financial aspects but it will be taken care of sooner rather than later, no more than six months."

The property was purchased by John Burt of Nashua in 2009 for $21,000.

Oleson explained that at least 15 dumpsters will be needed at an estimated cost of $2,000 per dumpster, with an operator getting paid $200 per hour.

Responding to the blaze were departments from Jefferson, Lancaster, Sugar Hill, Franconia and Whitefield.

Vaughan is being charged for arson and two class B felony counts of criminal trespass and breach of bail.

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