District attorney identifies man killed in New Bedford fire

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday identified the man who was killed in a fire in New Bedford.

The fire happened just after 3 p.m. Tuesday on Acushnet Avenue.

District Attorney Thomas Quinn said Manuel Moreira, 59, lived on the fourth floor of that building.

Fire Chief Scott Kruger said that when they arrived, they encountered heavy flames and immediately made five rescues using ground ladders.

Kruger said 20 firefighters were sent into the four-story building to search for victims. Some, he said, were escaping by hanging out of windows or by jumping.

“[I lost] everything,” said Jason Gilmore, who lived in the rooming house and escaped the flames Tuesday. “[Just] hoping to see my friends. I don’t know where they are and I haven’t seen them… So, it’s really hard right now. It’s very difficult. very hard.”

Kruger said the conditions became bad enough that all firefighters had to evacuate from the rooming house.

The fire also left two people unaccounted for, hospitalized five, and displaced over 20 residents. Wednesday morning, Kruger provided an update that there was just one person now unaccounted for, and crews were continuing their search for them during the demolition process.

“Number one is to find that person and number two, is to look at the area of origin where the fire started,” Kruger said. “And if it’s safe to do so, get in there and see if we can determine the cause and origin of the fire.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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