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Fire at abandoned building proves costly
MANCHESTER — A Manchester fire official said crews responding to fire in a dangerous building Wednesday night entered the burning structure and searched all three floors for inhabitants.
Located on Manchester Street across from the New Horizons soup kitchen and homeless shelter, the building has a Red X designation, a warning to firefighters that it has structural problems.
Such buildings have a placard with a Red X on them.
“We never assume a building is abandoned and unoccupied,” said District Fire Chief Al Poulin. He said arriving crews performed primary searches of every room and closet area, using extreme caution in doing so.
The fire caused $100,000 to $150,000 in damage to the structure. Officials have determined the fire to be suspicious, but had little to report Thursday of any investigation into the blaze. Fire officials believe it started on the first floor and quickly burned to the third floor.
The owner, Fernando Hilarion of Manchester, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the building has been vacant for six years. He has boarded it up numerous times, he said.
But he acknowledged that people have broken into the building in the past, and a witness told the Union Leader Wednesday he saw several people running from the building.
“We never know who could be in a building like that,” Poulin said. He said some crews began fighting the fire immediately Wednesday while others conducted searches.
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Mark Hayward may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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