Saturday, May 27, 2017

Manchester, NH fire that damaged vacant apartment building and caused at least $100,000 in damages was intentionally set

Fire officials: Manchester, NH fire that damaged vacant apartment building was intentionally set

Staff Report
MANCHESTER, NH — A two-alarm arson fire seriously damaged a vacant, three-story apartment building in Manchester Friday afternoon.

While the fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage, the quick response and second alarm saved two apartment buildings on either side of the badly burned vacant structure.

The first call for assistance came at 5:32 p.m. regarding a fire inside a yellow-sided building next to 370 Amory St. and by the time firefighters arrived the third floor was engulfed in flames, Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan said.

Fire officials placed a vacant building sign on the structure some time ago to alert public safety officials to the building’s status if there is any event there, Goonan explained.

It took about 50 minutes to bring the fire under control, but first responders remained at the scene another hour until 7:47 p.m. to put down any remaining hot spots.

Manchester District Fire Chief Michael Gamache said witnesses reported seeing teenagers inside the building and on the third-floor balcony area up to 45 minutes before the blaze started.

The building has a history of occasional squatters taking up temporary residence in the building, Gamache said.

The fire was deliberately set, Gamache said, and investigators are following up on leads they received from observant neighbors about those who had been in the building.

The residential buildings are tightly packed together in the neighborhood, and Gamache reported there was damage to the siding of the apartment buildings on each side, but both of them remained habitable.

Once it was determined no one was in the vacant building, Gamache said the second alarm was pulled so the focus could turn to saving the two structures on either side.

Both adjacent buildings were evacuated by first responders.

”Somebody knocked on my door and said, 'The building next door is on fire; you had better get out,'” said Mike Filanoski, 33, of 370 Amory St., who has lived in the area for 12 years. “The building has been vacant for many years.”

Police said Montgomery Street was closed as firefighters worked to contain the fire.

Smoke from the blaze could be easily seen from downtown Manchester during rush hour.

There were no injuries to nearby residents or first responders, officials said.



Manchester fire officials said they are investigating a fire that occurred Friday evening on Amory Street as arson.

Firefighters said the blaze was found on the third floor of a vacant building at 374 Amory Street. Fire was threatening the homes on each side of the building.

Smoke could be seen from downtown Manchester.

Firefighters did a brief search of the burning building and quickly went into defensive mode when nobody was found inside; allowing firefighters to focus on saving the nearby homes.

Police said Montgomery Street was closed as firefighters work to contain the fire. Both homes near the building suffered damage to the siding but are still habitable.

Firefighters said the building has been vacant for several years and has had occasional problems with squatters temporarily living there.Investigators said the fire was deliberately set and is being investigated as an arson. Several subjects have been identified by neighbors and investigators are following up on leads.