Manchester, NH Armory Fire, Feb 1906

Manchester, NH Armory, about 1908, photo from familyoldphotos.com

The New State Armory In Manchester

HANDSOME BUILDING BARELY ESCAPES DESTRUCTION

Flames In the Basement Apartments Gain Great Headway

Loss Estimated At $5000 And Military Companies Crippled

(Special to The Herald)

Manchester, March 1 --The new state armory in this city, erected only two years ago was badly damaged by fire last night. The loss is estimated at something over $5000. Two alarms were necessary and at one time it seemed certain that the building would be totally destroyed.

The flames were practically confined to the basement, where the equipment rooms were, and the greatest loss is the destruction of the contents of the rooms. The local infantry companies and the battery will keenly feel this loss and are likely to be crippled for some time.

The fire was discovered just before midnight by Police Officer Hamilton and was then well under way. Officers of the companies had detected smoke an hour earlier, but failed to find any other sign of fire.

A mixup in the fire alarm system delayed the firemen somewhat, but prompt action remedied the difficulty and but little time was really lost.

That the entire building was not destroyed seems but little short of miraculous. The flames did make their way into the drill shed, but were subdued.

Smoke badly damaged the paintings in the company rooms and uniforms were damaged by smoke and water. The colors of the First regiment were taken from the building by Capt.. Elliot and Lieut. Flynn.

The cost of the armory was $48,000. Its total dimensions are 192 by 102 feet, with a height of fifty-two feet. On the ground floor is the drill shed, 134 feet long and ninety-two feet wide. On the floor above are a large hall and four company rooms. On the second floor, there are additional company rooms, officers’ quarters, the regimental headquarters and a band room.

In the basement, to which the fire was confined, are the battery gun room, company property rooms, the quartersmaster’s, [sic] gun cleaning, toilet, bath and boiler rooms

The fire started in the battery gun room and the probable cause was spontaneous combustion, , due to oily waste used in cleaning the guns.

Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH 1 Mar 1906

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LOSS EXCEEDS $15,000

Manchester Armory More Seriously Damaged Than at First Thought

It is now thought that the loss from the fire which damaged the new state armory at Manchester will exceed $15,000. Nearly all uniforms, except those which members of the militia companies had at their homes, were destroyed. Some of the rifles were ruined and the entire building will probably have to be refinished. It is believed that most of the pictures can be saved.

Company C, First regiment, carried insurance to the amount of $250 and the battery has insurance of $1000.

The armory was inspected on Thursday by Adjutant General A. D. Ayling, Inspector General George D. Waldron and Major Knowlton. The National Guard has no money to pay for repairs, but the Governor and council will be asked to take action next Tuesday. The matter was discussed with Gov. McLane on Thursday. Contributions from Manchester citizens have been suggested.

There was no insurance on the building.

Brig. Gen. Jason E. Tolles of Nashua expressed the opinion on Thursday that the fire will not interfere with the June encampment of the National Guard. All damage, he thinks, will be repaired before then.

Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH 2 Mar 1906