Stubborn fire displaces 22 residents at Manchester assisted living complex

MANCHESTER -- Seniors at an assisted living complex were ordered to evacuate after a fire broke out Tuesday morning.

A third floor tenant at the Bennett Apartments building in Manchester discovered flames had ignited in her kitchen at approximately 9:30 a.m.

Fire officials arrived on scene and encountered thick smoke pouring out of the upper-floor windows.

A total of 22 residents were ordered to evacuate and seek shelter at the Army and Navy Club next door. Fire officials had to carry several of the fleeing residents down the stairs to safety.

No residents or firefighters were injured in the fire.

Although the blaze was largely contained to one apartment, firefighters had to search for and extinguish small pockets of flames located in empty spaces along walls and ceilings.

The Manchester Fire Marshal deemed that the fire started accidentally and was the result of stove-top cooking left unattended.

Additionally, investigators discovered that the third floor and attic sprinkler system was switched off the preceding night due to leaks from the recent wave of bitter cold temperatures.

The building cannot be occupied until repairs and clean-up efforts are completed, which could take up to two days.

The Red Cross and Manchester Human Services are assisting residents with temporary housing until they can be placed back into their homes.