Fire Reduces Manchester, CT Auto Shop to Rubble

Write-up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett

Dark smoke billowed into the air from a February 10 fire that reduced an auto shop at 185 Main Street in Manchester, Connecticut to rubble and displaced nearby residents. Wind carried the smoke, which could be seen for miles in the distance,  in a northeasterly direction. Manchester Auto Repair LLC was set back from the street and surrounded by residences and businesses including two pediatric dental offices.

Manchester auto shop reduced to rubble

According to broadcast reports, firefighters responded to a call that came in around 3:40 p.m. Friday. Neighbors told of hearing explosions at the site. Some people were evacuated and six residents have been displaced. Two firefighters were reported to have sustained minor injuries. Although the fire decimated the three stall auto shop and damaged a duplex behind it on Henry Street, firefighters were able to contain and knock down the blaze in the densely populated neighborhood.

Boarded windows in Henry Street house

Windows on the top floor of the damaged Henry Street home are now boarded up. The fire is under investigation.

It is another in a series of fires that have occurred across Connecticut in the past few months, most notably a Christmas Day blaze in Stamford that claimed the lives of three young sisters and their grandparents destroying their Victorian home, the remnants of which have since been demolished.  According to The Atlantic Wire, officials determined the origin of that fire was fireplace embers disposed of in a rear mudroom. The Wire reported it is unclear if battery-operated smoke alarms were in the the house built in 1895 and predating Stamford requirements for smoke detectors – it  was being remodeled with plans for hard-wired smoke alarms.

On New Year’s Day fire also destroyed the historic Congregational Church in Somers. That fire also remains under investigation.

Just yesterday there were reports of two more houses fires. One in New London is said to have sent an elderly woman to the hospital in serious condition and one in Waterbury displaced several residents.