MANCHESTER, NH – Fire officials in Manchester were in the right place at the right time Saturday night, after a call to check a basement fire at a large Prospect Street apartment building led them to discover an unreported fire on the building’s second floor.
The initial call came in at about 6:50 p.m. on Feb. 21, reporting smoke in the basement of 19 Prospect St., according to District Fire Chief Mark Pelletier.
While checking the smoke-filled basement, firefighters detected the smell of burning wood, which led them to a second-floor apartment that had already been destroyed by fire.
“Initially fire crews found that a dry boiler that had overheated in the basement and melted some cable wire. But then they followed the smell of burning wood and found that fire had destroyed the upstairs apartment. It had smoldered itself out,” Pelletier said.
He said it was fortunate that the fire burned itself out, and odd that nobody in the building was aware of it.
“It was one of those crazy calls that happen every once in a while,” Pelletier said.
The occupants of the second-floor apartment were not home at the time. They have been displaced by the fire, Pelletier said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Pelletier said the huge building includes several addresses, from 17 to 23 Prospect St. and houses more than 100 people, mostly elderly residents.
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