Manchester, NH Block Fire, Mar 1955

Flames Destroy Manchester Block

$1 Million Blaze Worst in History; Cause Unknown

MANCHESTER, (AP)--Weary firefighters today poured water on smouldering[sic] walls more than 15 hours after a million dollar fire slashed its ways through a three-building block in the business heart of this city.

The "all-clear" signal still had not been sounded in the wake of the worst fire in Manchester's history, which broke out at 5:22 p.m. yesterday on Elm St.

Fire Chief Napoleon Guevin, still on the scene at mid-morning, sent many of the citys fire trucks back to their home stations. But he and his deputies and a score of fire-fighters continued mopping up operations and searched the scene to determine the fire's cause.

During the height of the blaze, about 55 firefighters were showered with rain and snow showers as they fought to bring under control.

Sixteen business and professional offices and four stores were destroyed. Six other stores were heavily damaged, fire officials said.

In the process of changing shifts when the alarm was sounded, double the normal manpower was given by Mrs. Ruth M. Smith, working in an upstairs office.

Chief Guevin said the stores, on a half-day holiday, were closed and flames apparently smouldered[sic] for some time before erupting.

Three alarms brought six engine and three ladder companies.

Among the establishments destroyed in the three-story, three-building brick block were:

Several business doctors' and dentists' offices, the local branch of Alcoholics Anonymous, Queen's Kiddy Center, Rogers Jewelry, the College Shop, Jordan's Luggage Co., Teber's Women's Clothing Firm, a vacant store, the Windsor Store, Vernon Hat Shop, Alibi Sandwich Shop, Candlelight Gift Shop and the S. and I. Army and Navy Store.

Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH 3 Mar 1955