Tenants next to building destroyed by fire want to go home - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Tenants next to building destroyed by fire want to go home

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MANCHESTER, CT. (WFSB) -

A massive fire on Main Street in Manchester destroyed two local businesses and dozens of apartments Saturday night.

Fire ripped through a historic building at 801 Main St., which was home to more than 20 apartments and two businesses - the Great Harvest Bread Company and Connecticut Valley Coin.

Some Manchester tenants who live next to the building destroyed by a fire said they are frustrated after they say they still can't go home, even though their apartments are safe.

"There has got to be some compromise so we can go home, that's all we want to do is go home," said Diane Burke of Manchester.

The Connecticut Chapter of the American Red Cross assisted the residents of the building after it was destroyed. As for the people in the surrounding buildings, the city of Manchester is currently paying for their stays at area hotels.

"As far as I know the fire marshal told us our building has been cleared by engineers and cleared by the fire department as structurally sound," Burke said. "So that's even more frustrating to know our home is OK and we can't get into it."

Demolition on the building started Sunday night, but has been halted multiple times. Debris will be removed starting Friday morning, city officials said.

It's still unknown when demolition will continue, but it could happen by late Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning.

Manchester Fire Chief Robert Bycholski told Eyewitness News they're ready to do the work, but are waiting on the insurance companies.

Bycholski said tenants can't move back until the demolition is complete.

"I feel for the people, who lost everything, but if you ask me they should let us go home and focus on us taking care of them," Burke said.

Burke said she was allowed inside for just 10 minutes with an escort. She said her apartment is fine and doesn't have smoke damage, just a little dust.

Asbestos and lead paint were also found in the building.

The investigation into the cause of fire, which started in the basement, is expected to take several days. However, it is not believed to be suspicious and instead may be an accident.

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