Buildings destroyed in fire may not have been up to code

According to a 1998 letter, the buildings had "several strikes against it"


By FireRescue1 Staff

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Concerns about fire codes were raised after three buildings were destroyed in a fire.

WGME.com reported that the buildings, which date back to 1850, did not have a fire separation between the restaurant and the tenants upstairs. According to a 1998 letter from a building inspector and fire department officials, the buildings had "several strikes against it."

Inspectors noted insufficient exits, no firewall at the lot line and no fire separation between the existing restaurant and residences upstairs.

Instead of installing new firewalls, the city gave the owner the option of installing a fire detection system.

It's unclear when the last inspection was for the buildings.

More than 100 firefighters from 44 departments battled the blaze for more than 18 hours. The three buildings that were connected as one eventually collapsed.

One firefighter suffered a minor shoulder injury, and firefighters rescued several residents from apartments by ladder due to smoke and fire conditions in the building.

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