The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
Aug. 30—Manchester firefighters battled heavy flames and extreme heat knocking down a three-alarm blaze on Elm Street Monday afternoon.
Many were also battling heavy hearts.
Manchester Fire Chief Andre Parent reported four adults, two children and several animals safely escaped the blaze at 34 Elm St. One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion.
That wasn’t the case nearly 22 years ago, when a fire at the same address claimed the lives of a teenage boy and the Manchester firefighter who fought to rescue the teen and his younger brother from the attic bedroom of their burning apartment building.
Firefighter David A. Anderson, 43, a 16-year veteran of the department at the time, died after collapsing in front of the three-unit tenement. His cause of death was listed as a heart attack.
Patrick Flannery, 17, also perished in the blaze and his brother, Mathew, 12, was transported to the Shriners Burns Institute in Boston, where the younger Flannery died several days later.
Parent, who is set to retire Sept. 1 after more than 34 years with the department, said he felt a chill as soon as he heard the address of Monday’s fire.
“I was here with Dave that day, and this might be my last fire,” said Parent. “It’s weird. When I heard it come in I said ‘That’s a bad omen. I better show up for this one.'”
At the time, Anderson was the first Manchester firefighter to die on the job in 32 years.
Parent said Monday’s three-alarm blaze was called in a little after 3 p.m. The first crews on the scene reported heavy fire on the porch side that extended up into the attic area and ran the length of the roof.
Ravi Kanth was working at Queen City Market at 31 Elm St. across the street from the blaze when he noticed smoke.
“It was the backside of the house caught fire first,” said Kanth. “It was a small one I thought, but gradually it was increasing and increasing and lit up like hell. The flames were the height of the house.”
John Coady lives next to Queen City Market. He said he was working from home when he heard “screams coming from outside.”
“I went out to the front porch and half the whole building was on fire,” said Coady. “Everyone’s standing outside, screaming hysterically, and by that point the cops had rolled up and they started knocking on neighbors’ doors trying to get everyone out of that building. It was pretty chaotic, the whole second story was going up in flames.”
“The bottom story where their porch was was just engulfed in flames, going up the whole side of the house, smoke just pouring into the sky.”
Parent said four adults, two children and several animals living at 34 Elm St. made it out safely Monday. One firefighter was transported to Elliot Hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion.
“We brought in off-duty personnel due to heat conditions,” said Parent. “They’re exhausted because of the heat but for the most part they are doing great.”
The cause of the fire was under investigation Monday afternoon.
Online records show the three-family home at 34 Elm St. is owned by Maria Lambert, with an assessed value of $319,400.
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