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Arsonist lit propane to start fire outside Manchester home
MANCHESTER - A fire outside a Gilford Street residence early Saturday morning was started by an arsonist who turned on some propane tanks stored in the rear of the home and then lit the fuel spewing from them, according to a District Fire Chief Michael Gamache.
Three people were asleep inside the 100 Gilford St. ranch-style home when the fire broke out about 4:15 a.m. The sudden ignition of the tanks, which Gamache said sounds like an explosion to a lay person, woke the residents and a neighbor across the street.
"The fire was racing up the side of the house and ready to penetrate the attic when firefighters arrived on scene," Gamache said. The blaze was reported at 4:17 a.m., fire crews from the South Main Street station were there three minutes later and by 4:23 a.m. the fire was out.
According to a press release, two of the residents were sleeping in a room where a window shattered from the intense heat.
How the fire started is of great concern, Gamache said. Someone took a box of matches from the patio area, went to the rear of the home and turned on three propane tanks stored there, he said. The individual then lit the propane discharging from the tanks which, in turn, set fire to toys, a gas grill and tires that were stored in the back.
Those items were destroyed in the blaze, but firefighters kept flames from entering the home. Gamache estimated damage at about $2,000.
Both fire and police investigators are working through the weekend to try and find the individual responsible for starting the fire, according to Gamache.
"It's an open investigation," he said.
The property is owned by Luis A. Castro, according to the city's property database. Gamache said two of the three people residing there are Castro's adult children.
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