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Mar 25, 2016 3:19 PM

Fire seriously damages 6-unit Manchester apartment building

NH1.com

MANCHESTER - An early morning fire seriously damaged a six unit apartment building on Belmont St. Friday.

A 911 call came in just before 9 a.m., officials said.

A tenant said he heard an unusual noise in the ceiling.

"I thought it might be a squirrel or a rat or something up in the ceiling," said Bud Chase.

When he lifted the ceiling tile he was shocked to find flames. Chase called 911 and alerted his neighbors.

When firefighters arrived they helped tenants to safety and began to extinguish the flames.

"Once they busted out the window all the smoke started coming out," said neighbor Mary Rodier.

The 1910 building has a balloon shaped ceiling, which allowed the flames to spread undetected for some time, said District Chief Mike Gamache.

"There was zero visibility and extremely high heat so if anyone was in that apartment - and we're fortunate that no one was in there - but if anyone was in that apartment they could not have survived," Gamache said.

It's unclear what caused the fire. The damage is estimated to be about $75,000.

Colleen Shaughnessy is a multimedia journalist for NH1 News. You can email her at cshaughnessy@nh1.com and follow her on Twitter, @ColleenNH1.

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