Nashua firefighters use tarps to limit damage in high-rise fire

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Jan. 21—NASHUA — Called to fight a fire around dawn Friday in the nine-story Sullivan Terrace South apartment building on Tyler Street, city firefighters relied on their normal tools — ladder, fire hose and plastic tarp.

Deputy Fire Chief James W. Kirk said the tarp is essential to protect apartments and property located on building floors below a fire.

"If we have the manpower, one crew fights the fire above and the other does salvage below. We do that every time we can," Kirk said.

In this case, it involved placing tarps on furniture on the seventh and sixth floors, below the fire on the eighth floor. Firefighters will go as far as taking pictures off walls and putting them under the tarp, he said.

"It's part of what we call basic firefighting," Kirk said.

The fire was called in shortly before 7 a.m. at the building, which is owned by the Nashua Housing Authority. The building houses about 100 apartments.

Flames were fanning out of an eighth-floor window.

A sprinkler had activated in the unit, helping to hold the fire to the single apartment. Smoke seeped into the eighth floor, and crews moved residents of the floor to safety, some in wheelchairs.

Most residents of the building congregated in the lobby of the sister Sullivan Terrace North tower while firefighters worked to extinguish the fire.

One resident was taken to a hospital for a medical emergency. Kirk said the residents of only one or two apartments were displaced.