Manchester

Person Dead in NH Fire; Firefighter Among 2 Taken to Boston Hospitals

The blaze left people hanging out of windows, and among six people rescued was a baby

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A person died in a fire that burned a building in Manchester, New Hampshire, Saturday while several more people were rescued, officials said.

A firefighter was burned and had to be flown to Boston for treatment, Manchester Fire Chief Andy Parent said. Another person was also taken by helicopter to a Boston hospital for medical treatment.

The heavy fire, raging on three floors of an apartment building on Dutton Street, was reported about 6:10 p.m., Parent said.

Five people were rescued by a ladder on the third floor of the building -- there were multiple people hanging out of windows on that floor -- and another person was rescued from a second-floor porch.

Among those saved was a baby. Video shows a firefighter clutching the baby tightly, descending down a ladder to safety. The same firefighter then climbed back up the ladder to rescue more people trapped inside, with intense flames raging only feet away.

The fire chief said crews saved as many people as they could, but after extinguishing the fire, they discovered one person didn't make it.

“Once things started going sideways, we pulled everybody out of the building and we found later that there was a person out back,” Parent said.

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The victim was found dead on the second floor back porch, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Sean Toomey said.

While fire crews arrived in about a minute's time from four blocks away, they were immediately met with difficulties, including fire hydrant issues, according to Parent.

“It was a big fire. A lot of people," he said. "The fire got ahead of us. We had issues with the hydrant.”

Crews are thinking of the person who didn't make it out.

“It’s been a tough night for Manchester Fire," Parent said, "but we pulled through and keep going.”

Positive identification of the victim and cause and manner of death are pending an autopsy that will take place Monday at the state medical examiner’s office in Concord.

The investigation into the origin and cause of the fire is active and ongoing.

The state fire marshal is remining everyone how important it is to have working smoke alarms inside and outside of all sleeping areas. When a fire is detected by smoke alarms, occupants only have seconds to escape before being overcome by the effects of smoke, Toomey said.

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