Fire Destroys Downtown Manchester Businesses

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A downtown Manchester fire destroyed a two-story building, housing businesses and an apartment. It took seven fire departments and more than 50 firefighters to put out the flames. Investigators are still trying to figure out what started them.

The fire broke out early Sunday morning, around 2:00 a.m. along Highway 421, in downtown Manchester. Within minutes, the large building was engulfed in flames. The fire burned for hours after it broke.

Upon arrival, fire managers say crews started on the inside but quickly changed their strategy as the flames roared on.

"We had heavy fire coming out of the end of building; we immediately started an interior attack on the building until we had to pull the guys out due to the roof sagging a little bit," says Manchester Fire Department Assistant Chief Jamey Mills. "We just made it an entirely exterior attack."

Area residents say the building houses an apartment and businesses, including a popular barber shop. They say this loss will be devastating for the community.

"Anything like this happens to a small town like this, it's a tragic," says a witness, Shery Smith of Clay County. "I mean because we don't have nothing, this is Clay County."

It was first believed a resident was missing in the fire, but he was later found. State fire officials have been called in to help determine just what happened.

No one was reported injured in the fire.

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