Merrimack apartment house a total loss, 15 residents displaced

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MANCHESTER, NH – Below is the official report issued by Manchester District Fire Chief Michael Gamache regarding the April 16 fire on Merrimack Street.

⇒Related story: 2 Firefighters injured in Merrimack Street blaze

Call Dispatched: 5:25 a.m.

Incident Under Control: 9:40 a.m.

Resources: 4th alarm equivalent

Description of Incident: Dispatch received a call of a fire at 374 Merrimack St. Crews arrived three minutes after the call to find the occupied six-family structure with the second and third foors heavily engulfed in fire. Initial crews advanced into the interior to search for and evacuate any trapped occupants. Additional arriving crews worked to keep the growing fire to the building of origin (which they were successful in doing). Ten minutes after arrival all crews were ordered to evacuate the building as flames had begun to consume most of the building. Fire crews were then ordered into defensive mode. All occupants self-evacuated.

Civilian Injuries: 0

Emergency Service Injuries: 2

Special Circumstances: Tightly congested inner-city neighborhood, exceptional efforts by the responding crews kept this fire to the building of origin. Fire crews were hampered by weather conditions upon arrival.

Fire Cause: The property was a six-unit apartment building with a total of 15 residents.  All occupants are safe and accounted for at this time. The fire started in the second floor bedroom of apartment 3.  The occupant stated that he was smoking in bed and dropped his cigarette.  He stated that when he realized he had dropped the cigarette the side of the bed was on fire.  An attempt was made to extinguish the fire but it was unsuccessful.  The occupants of the fire apartment then called 911 to report the fire and went through the building evacuating residents.  This fire is classified as accidental.

Estimated dollar loss: $300,000.00