MANCHESTER, Ohio – A fire in Manchester destroyed a business and left several families without homes the day after Christmas.

According to reports, a fire started in one of the apartments above Caps Auto Supply at the intersection of Pike and Second Street in Manchester at around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

“It started in the apartment under the stairway,” said Manchester Village Assistant Fire Chief Lonnie Bilyeu. “It just moved up inside the building and flashed over the top. It traveled over into the next building and we put a stop to it before it got into the pool hall.”

The apartment buildings and Caps Auto Supply were destroyed according to Bilyeu, but the pool hall beside them only suffered minor smoke-related damage.

The building was almost 100 years old. Five families lived in the apartment complex.

U.S. 52 was closed for almost eight hours as crews worked to contain the fire.

A few people were treated for minor smoke inhalation but there were no other injuries, according to reports.

“We had some minor difficulty with breathing but we treated them on the scene,” Bilyeu said. “We gave them some breathing treatments and some oxygen and they were fine.”

Manchester Village Councilwoman Christine Henderson said in a social media post that Mayor Robert Hilderbrand had opened the Manchester Community Building for victims of the fire. The American Red Cross has also been called to assist victims of the fire, according to Bilyeu.

Bilyeu said that there were still some hot spots in the building the fire department was keeping an eye on but that the major fire was put out.

Manchester firefighters along with crews from Ripley, West Union, and Peebles assisted at the scene, according to Bilyeu.

An investigation into the fire by the Ohio Fire Marshall is ongoing.

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