Franklin fire called 'suspicious'
One tenant suffered minor injuries outside the building as firefighters fought the blaze, which was reported by two neighbors at 5:33 p.m. Ten pets were saved by police and firefighters, said Fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle.
None of the building's tenants were at home when the fire began, and investigators determined that the fire started in a vacant first-floor apartment.
'The apartment was vacant, and two subjects were seen fleeing the building at the time the fire started,' LaChapelle said.
Upon arriving at the scene, firefighters from the Franklin and Tilton-Northfield fire departments found dark smoke coming from the second-floor windows, he said. They managed to contain the flames to the first-floor apartment, but smoke and flames caused damage in several parts of the building.
Fire crews quickly did a primary search of the building, opening all the apartment doors, he said. They didn't find any tenants.
'But we did rescue five dogs, three cats, a rabbit and a parakeet,' LaChapelle said.
The fire was brought under control within a half-hour.
LaChapelle said investigators from the Franklin's fire and police departments are working with investigators from the state fire marshal's office to identify the two men who fled the building.