In February 2010, a fire destroyed an entire block in Hampton Beach, and Fire Chief Jameson Ayotte said that fire was in their minds as they responded to the fire. Ayotte was the first person to spot the fire at the Purple Urchin.
Firefighters initially battled the fire from the front stairs. Authorities said sprinklers and the fire alarm system activated during the fire. Firefighters from 16 New Hampshire and Massachusetts towns joined in the fight. Ayotte said it appeared to have started on the second floor, but it didn’t stay there.
Donnie Miller, who owns a few businesses in the building, said that his reaction was immediate. “Panic, immediately,” he said. “You panic, and your mind thinks the worst, obviously. Your heart drops in your stomach, and you want to see what’s happening.”
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries and were treated and released. They are all expected to make a full recovery. Hampton fire officials, the state Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco of Firearms investigated the cause of the fire.