MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CBS) — Two children and two adults were killed in a massive fire at an apartment building in Manchester, N.H. early Monday morning.
Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan said the department responded to the fire on Wilson Street around 5:09 a.m. to find heavy flames showing from the rear of the building. Neighbors in the street told arriving firefighters that people were trapped inside.
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Chief Goonan said two of the four victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and two were pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. The victims identities have not been released, pending autopsies scheduled for tomorrow morning.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reported that two of the victims were children. Neighbors said the four victims were a mother, father, and two young sons. The family lived on the second floor.
“This is really a tragic incident,” said Goonan. “We’ll be here for quite a while.”
Goonan praised firefighters for removing as many people as they could under heavy fire conditions. He said they had to retreat and regroup after removing the first two victims, as the fire was progressing too quickly.
“We removed everyone we could,” said Goonan. “Unfortunately, four people didn’t make it.”
Jamie Wintle is the director of an community outreach program, Roca Kidz Club, that provided afterschool care for the two young boys. She said she last saw them on Thursday.
“These two little boys were always smiling, always helping,” said Wintle. “They’re great kids, and they’re going to be missed.”
Monday afternoon, Roca Kidz Club had started a fundraising page for those displaced by the fire and the victims’ families.
He also said one firefighter is “OK” after being transported from the scene with a non-life-threatening leg injury.
A cause was not yet determined, but Goonan said the building’s back porches were being investigated as a possible point of origin. At a press conference Monday morning, the New Hampshire State Fire Marshall said his office was investigating.
Seven of the 12 apartments in the building were occupied at the time of the fire, and Goonan said about 30 people had been displaced. The Red Cross was on scene assisting the displaced people. Twenty people were also evacuated and displaced from a building next door that took damage, including a flooded basement.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports