December 8, 2023

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MANCHESTER – Eight tenants and four pets escaped a three-alarm fire late Friday night in an apartment building at 99 Harrison St., according to fire officials.

Firefighters encountered heavy fire, high winds and bitter cold temperatures when they arrived at the three-story, wood-frame building shortly after 11 p.m.

Firefighters rescued Dan Chase and his Australian shepherd, Cisco, from a second-floor apartment by ladder while other firefighters went through the building, helping other residents outside. No one was hurt in the fire.

Chase said the sound of a fire engine woke him; he got up to see where the fire was. “Obviously you don’t think it’s here,” he said.

It was.

Chase touched the door of his second-floor apartment and found it very hot, so he didn’t open it. He called for Cisco – and inhaled a mouthful of smoke.

“The kitchen was completely filled with smoke,” he said.

He ran back to the bedroom and threw on his pants. Shirtless and shoeless, he found Cisco at the bottom of the bed, grabbed him by the collar and dragged him over to the window.

A firefighter was outside, calling to him to get out. “He went and got a ladder. I passed him the dog, and as he was taking the dog down, I climbed down the ladder.”Chase’s girlfriend, Patty Connare, wasn’t home but her three cats were still inside, he told the firefighter. “He said they’d do their best.””Five minutes later, they came out with one cat,” he said.

A young neighbor took the cat to her house, and Chase told firefighters to put the other cats in his truck if they found them. When everything was winding down, Chase remarked, “You never found the cats?”

“Yeah, they’re in the truck,” he was told.

Chase has renter’s insurance and said many of his belongings had just smoke and water damage.

But another resident, John Aberg, lost nearly all his belongings in the fire. Saturday afternoon, he managed to salvage some of his clothes but not much more.

Aberg, who also has insurance, said a lot of his belongings were stored on the third floor, which was destroyed in the fire. “All that stuff is gone. Nothing but rubble,” he said.

Aberg said the smoke alarm alerted him to the fire, and then everything seemed to happen fast. “The hallway filled up with smoke pretty quick and that’s when I got scared,” he said.

Chase expressed gratitude for the firefighters’ efforts in saving his pets. “You don’t realize their job until it happens to you,” he said.

The fire heavily damaged the entire building, destroying the third-floor attic area and the roof, according to a news release. Damage was estimated at $300,000.

The building is owned by Elm Grove Management, officials said

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