Fifty-five firefighters from several departments battled the fire for eight hours, finally getting it under control at about ten Sunday morning.
Manchester Fire Chief James Ed Garrison says, “It just got out of control.” He says they still don't know how the fire started but they know why it took so long to put it out.
Now the fire department says the fire started initially at the apartment complex and with the structures being so old, they had several layers of tar on the roof.
Garrison says, “On the left side over here, in the building that's still standing right now and it's got two to three roofs on it and it got up in there and we couldn't control and it moved down to the other section that they've already torn down right now.
Now, several buildings that have stood for decades in downtown Manchester are gone.
Irene Lewis, owner of one of the buildings that burned says, “My grandfather probably built this in the early 20's or 30's, this strip all the way through here.” Lewis inherited the property 10 years ago. She say's it's more than just a bricks and mortar, its part of her family history. “Yes it is. Yeah, very personal.”
Chief Garrison says it's a piece of history and despite their efforts; they could only salvage a part of it. “It's pretty tough cause you can't get in to where the actually fire is. I’m going to talk to them to see if they won't come up with an ordinance to have no double roofs from here on out cause when there in there like that you just can't get in and get to the fire.”
Ben Lovins, a resident of Manchester saw the fire early on. “They would get it died down in one area and then it would blaze up in another one.”
Leaving at least one business damaged, another one destroyed, and one man now homeless.
Chief Garrison says the man who lived at that apartment was not at home at the time and no one was in any of the buildings during the fire.
We've learned more tonight about the business destroyed in the fire. It was a disability representative office where thousands of people with disabilities were able to sign up for social security and other benefits. That office is destroyed, but the the operator there tells us they were able to salvage people's records and they say they'll be getting in contact with people in the coming days. For more information, contact 606-523-5738.