MANCHESTER, NH – Kevin Lawrence cradled his infant son Gavin he kicked open the front door at his large two-family duplex at 285 Walnut Street in Manchester to save the family’s two dogs who fortunately hurriedly ran to safety. The windy morning threatened to have the quickly-spreading fire shoot the gap from the second floor to 283 Walnut Street. Everyone was quickly evacuated from both buildings.
The fire started on a side porch at 11:15 a.m. and eventually engulfed the second floor and attic of the dwelling. Everyone was safe before the Manchester Fire Department was on the scene with two trucks at 11:19 a.m. Firefighters bravely used extension ladders and chainsaws from the building’s roof to vent the fire from the attic so hoses could be directed at the thick smoke and fire. It took firefighters approximately one-half hour to get the considerable flames and thick black smoke under control.
Angelina Lawrence and the family’s two other children were both at school. The couple were visibly upset as they watched from across the street after Angelina hurried home.
Kevin immediately called his second-floor tenant Adam Jordan once safe across the street with the couple’s son. Thankfully, Jordan was not in the building.
“I’ve lost my house,” Kevin Lawrence said while out of breath. Neighbors consoled the owner that the important thing was that everybody got out.
Approximately 40 Manchester police officers were on the scene within one-half hour.
“The priorities are life first, then the property,” Manchester MPD Sergeant Rick Brown said once the danger was over. “Fire controls the situation and coordination of first responders is important to secure both lives and a building.”
The six-bedroom duplex is a large 3,200-square-foot building.
In a report issued by District Chief Jon Starr, the home sustained extensive fire and water damage and initial estimates of the damage totals $225,000. The siding of a neighboring home was also damaged.
A preliminary investigation revealed the fire originated on a second-floor porch and was accidental in nature.
In all, six people were displaced from the residence, Starr said.