Manchester firefighters arrived to high flames shooting out of a home on Woodbridge Street Monday afternoon. The fire started in the kitchen and quickly worked its way through the house.
“It’s a balloon construction house, so the fire spreads quickly. We had crews here within four minutes and it already got from the kitchen to the attic before we even set up,” Manchester Fire Chief Paul Litrico said.
Firefighters had a tough time knocking the fire down. As soon as they put water on the house, they were engulfed in smoke.
“With the humidity, the air’s not moving. So as soon as we put water on the fire, you’re going to create steam and get smoke generated. The air quality is horrible. Firefighters are taking a beating,” Litrico said.
Pair the poor air quality with the intense heat and about half a dozen firefighters had to be taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion. They are recovering.
The conditions were extremely difficult for firefighters to take and it was the second fire in an hour that firefighters responded to. Before the one on Woodbridge, they fought an attic fire on Clinton Street.
“I’m not doing anything and I’m sweating like crazy, so you can imagine 80 pounds of gear on and breathing air (that) probably got well over 1,000 degrees inside, so the guys took a beating. They did an excellent job containing it. It just had a big jump on us,” Litrico said.
Homeowner Richard Krawczyk was home with his four dogs and his son's two dogs, when he noticed some cardboard boxes on fire near a kitchen air conditioner. He says his black Labrador, Kaleigh, died in the fire.
The people living at both homes got out safely. The Red Cross is assisting them.