12 families after the fire: Searching for cats, sifting through rubble and looking for new homes

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All off-duty firefighters were called to the scene of the Spruce Street fire. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Story and photos by Jeffrey Hastings


 MANCHESTER, NH – The 12 families who were displaced by Friday’s 3-alarm fire in Manchester were able to access their apartments and find out what could be salvaged.

Several animals were rescued from the burning buildings by their owners and firefighters. At the fire scene, the owner of 232 Spruce St. was working with Laura from the Manchester Animal Shelter in setting traps to try to capture four of her missing cats. They indicated cats tend to be “stealth” and stay away until they get hungry. The traps are set inside and outside the house, and they felt confident they will be found. Rumors on social media said several animals died, and it was verified that is not the case.

Construction crews specializing in securing the buildings, and working with insurance companies made things as safe as possible. All the buildings damaged by the fire were insured. Apartment insurance is necessary to cover the contents of the fire. In speaking to the owners of the apartments some have insurance and some do not.

A school district food distribution was happening at Manchester Police Athletic League Saturday morning, set up with school busses full of food. Several of the residents who lost their apartments were given food by the workers.

The American Red Cross is assisting all the families with places to live, and vouchers to assist them.

Several online fundraising efforts have been posted across social media pages. People should use extreme caution in validating the authenticity of these efforts, there have already been several “scam” fundraisers set up which are not truly connected to the fire victims. There are ones which are legitimate but as in the past, we urge people to do their research. It’s best to contact the Red Cross and specify your interest in helping out victims of the Spruce Street fire.

Several nearby cars were demolished by fire. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Fire investigators from Manchester Fire were on scene continuing their investigation. They stressed no determination has been made on the cause and origin of the fire. MFD will review surveillance video from multiple buildings in the area, and other evidence collected in their investigation. MFD Investigator Cady indicated there is nothing at this time that points to anything suspicious.

After investigation, it appears six buildings were damaged by the fire, some with more substantial damage than others. It appears the original fire building at 232 Spruce St. will have to be torn down, and that will be determined by the insurance company. To the east of the origination of the fire, 234 Spruce St., has substantial damage, and it will be determined what the insurance will do with the claim.

Multiple vehicles surrounding the fire were damaged by fire, smoke or falling debris.
Manchester Fire Fighters worked at all their stations Saturday cleaning, repairing and restocking equipment from the smokey fire. No firefighters or civilians were injured in the fire which brought 3-alarms, and all off duty personnel to the scene. The fire which started at 3:31 p.m. brought 11 engines, 3 ladder trucks, 1 rescue, and 2 ambulances. Multiple towns and cities provided station coverage for Manchester.