A person has died in a fire that burned a building where several more people were rescued in Manchester, New Hampshire, Saturday, 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 firmly, descending down a ladder to safety. The same firefighter then climbed back up the ladder to rescue more people retained 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. The victim was found dead on the second floor back porch, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Sean Toomey said.
“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.
While fire crews arrived in about a minute’s time from four blocks away, they were closest met with difficulties, including fire hydrant issues.
“It was a big fire. A lot of people,” Parent said. “The fire got ahead of us. We had issues with the hydrant.”
Despite the issues, crews persevered to battle the conditions, but they 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 by 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 current.
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 conquer by the effects of smoke, Toomey said.
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