MANCHESTER, New Hampshire– Five firefighters were injured while battling a 2-alarm fire on Friday night at a duplex on Pearl Street.
The duplex had three illegal bedrooms and lacked working smoke detectors, according to fire officials. The injured firefighters are now recovering from their injuries.
“They’re doing well,” said Manchester District Fire Chief Jonathan Starr on Saturday, when asked about the injured firefighters.
One firefighter sustained burns to his wrist and was treated at a local hospital before being released. Four other firefighters received treatment for minor injuries at the scene of the fire.
Thankfully, there were no other reported injuries. During the incident, search teams successfully rescued five out of six cats and a large lizard from the building, ensuring their safety and returning them to their owners.
The fire occurred at 317-319 Pearl St., and emergency crews promptly responded to the scene after receiving reports of the fire around 8:40 p.m. on Friday. As a result of the fire, a total of 10 residents were displaced from the duplex.
When crews arrived, they found heavy smoke billowing from the attic and roof areas. Bystanders told crews that children were still inside the building on the upper floors, officials said.
Firefighters began search and rescue operations, while aggressively attacking the interior of the building with hose lines to extinguish the flames.
Firefighters were met with several challenges, including heavy smoke, high heat, limited visibility within the building, and limited access to illegal apartments.
“There was a lot of heat and because of the layout of the building, some of it was a little hard to access and they did have illegal living areas,” Starr said of the firefighting effort.
According to Fire Chief Starr, the duplex had three illegal bedrooms, with two located in the basements and one in the attic. Disturbingly, there were no functioning smoke detectors in either side of the duplex.
The initial investigation indicates that the fire originated in the attic of 317 Pearl St., primarily affecting the upper floors of the building. Fire officials estimated that the property loss amounts to approximately $150,000.
While most of the fire damage was contained to the third floor, attic, and storage spaces of the duplex, there was significant water damage throughout all levels and both units.
Officials believe the fire was accidental, although the exact cause is still being investigated.