By Scott Cook
MANCHESTER, N.H. — More than a dozen people were displaced after a fire Monday afternoon at a multi-family complex on Elm Street.
Heavy smoke could be seen pouring from the upper floor of the building at 34 Elm St. The two-alarm fire was reported at about 3:15 p.m.
“Oh my gosh, the fire was really bad. It was dark, dark, dark and fire all over the place,” nieghbor Solange Binette said. “It was unreal!”
“Terrifying,” said neighbor John Coady. “I mean, so many people, so many people die in fires every year. Just living in a neighborhood that’s this densely packed, it’s like if the wind were to go the wrong way, you have multiple buildings all up in flames. It’s horrifying.”
Officials said six people were displaced from the building that burned and another seven people were displaced from the building next door. Both are three-unit apartment complexes.
The building next door suffered some serious damage to its siding.
“There actually was an LP tank on the first floor that was venting — throwing a flame right across the driveway of the exposed building,” Manchester battalion chief Ken Proulx said.
Every person made it out safely, according to officials. Proulx told News 9 a few pets were trapped inside and died.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames by 6 p.m. One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion but is expected to be OK.
“Extreme heat today, it’s hot. You know, the guys have all this gear on in the heat and the sun, that’s why we need the manpower,” Proulx said. “We need to hydrate, water, that’s the toughest thing to deal with today.”
Officials said the building is a total loss.
The building was at the same location where a fire broke out in 2000 and claimed the lives of two young boys and former Manchester firefighter David Anderson.
“There is some history with this building and we all felt it,” Proulx said. “So, I wanted to make sure everyone was safe in there.”
Ironically enough, Monday was supposed to be current Manchester fire chief Andy Parent’s last day on the job.
News 9 was told he retired at noon, went home, and when this call came in, he put his uniform back on and came straight to the scene to help. He was at that fire in 2000.
There was no immediate word on a possible cause of the fire.