Fire kills woman at group home in Guilford where 7 lived

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Feb. 21, 2008

GUILFORD — A woman died in a fire Wednesday afternoon at a Stillmeadow Drive home where several people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction lived, according to police.

The fire started about 1:40 p.m., Police Chief Thomas Terribile said. Five people were home at the time, and four of them escaped without injuries.

Terribile said that, as of Wednesday evening, the Police and Fire departments had not yet identified the woman who died. He added that Guilford has asked for assistance in the investigation from the state police arson investigators.

“That does not mean we’re thinking it’s suspicious, but because it’s a death, we want to cover all bases,” Terribile said.

Guilford officials called in the state medical examiner’s office to perform an autopsy.

Terribile said seven people were living in the single-story house at 40 Stillmeadow Drive. The building is part of Catapult Services, a nonprofit company that helps people who are battling homelessness or drug, alcohol and gambling addictions, according to the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The house is owned by Glenn and Laura Remmers, according to property records, and Terribile said that five clients also lived there.

He added that fire officials have “no idea on cause at this point,” and the fire destroyed a bedroom in the house.

Kevin Nolan, a resident of the house, said the victim was in her late 30s, and had lived there for about two years. He said that the residence is for “sober living.”

Nolan said he was home at the time of the fire, which occurred in a room that had several occupants.

“The room was filled with smoke and flames,” he said. “We tried to put it out, couldn’t put it out, so we called the Fire Department.”

He said he does not know what caused the blaze.

Nolan described the woman, whom he did not name, as “nice, polite — she always helped out around the house.”

Terribile said Guilford police and fire officials, and the state police, will continue investigating the fire.

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