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Officials investigate suspicious Manchester blaze

MANCHESTER -- An early morning blaze that started on the door frame of a Laurel Street convenience store is suspicious, according to a fire official.

District Chief James Michael said the blaze, reported just before 3:30 a.m. by a third floor tenant, caused about $20,000 in damage.

Seven people fled the building, which has a convenience store on the ground level and four apartments above, after smoke detectors sounded.

The one-alarm blaze was quickly extinguished by firefighters, although flames made their way inside the walls. Fire crews cut open walls on the second floor to put the fire out.

Two of the four apartments were occupied, Michael said.

The residents were allowed to return to their homes, but the convenience store remains closed until city health officials inspect it. Michael explained power was shut off to the store which suffered smoke damage.

He said fire investigators are trying to figure out how the fire started and believe it began on the exterior of the store's front door, which was fixed with a steel security door, making it initially difficult for firefighters to get inside.

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