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12 displaced in three-alarm blaze on Manchester's Green Street
Fire Chief James Burkush, who suffered a cut to his hand, said Tuesday night that firefighters were trying to keep the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings more than two hours after it was reported shortly after 10 p.m.
Firefighters battled the blaze for about four hours and at one point had eight trucks - five elevated and three ground master streams - pouring water on flames at a rate of more than 500 gallons a minute. Initially, emergency workers received reports someone was trapped inside, sending firefighters into the smoky building searching for the resident. No one was located.
The fire appeared to have been contained by about 11 p.m., but a second wave of heavy smoke and fire hit the third floor, prompting ladder trucks to move in a second time.
Burkush said the fire did not rekindle.
"No, it was never out," he said.
Burkush said at 11:30 p.m. that he was the only person injured in the fire, "that I know of."
Rafael Cruz said he'd gone out to a store to buy some milk and, when he came back, saw smoke billowing from his apartment, as well as from the first floor and the basement. He said he got his family, including children 2 and 7, out and went back to warn neighbors.
He said he left the building when flames and smoke got stronger and he saw police and firefighters arrive.
"The flames were too much," he said. "I'm still choking, but I'm all right. I'm alive."
Cruz said he moved into the building in November and does not have renter's insurance. He said he has lost everything except a couple of his kids' coats and a blanket.
"I didn't have time to get clothes and other stuff," he said.
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