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    3 -alarm fire destroys Chinese restaurant, apartments, in Salem, N.H.

    Fire investigators looked over the remains of a fire that destroyed a Chinese restaurant in Salem, N.H.
    Keith Bedford/Globe Staff
    Fire investigators looked over the remains of a fire that destroyed a Chinese restaurant in Salem, N.H.

    A 2½-story building that housed 11 apartments, a Chinese restaurant, and a smoke shop in Salem, N.H., collapsed Wednesday morning after a roaring three-alarm fire raced through the structure, officials said.

    Two firefighters were briefly trapped, and a mayday call was issued for the fire at the China Star restaurant at 80 Main St. that was reported at 5:39 a.m., a fire official said.

    . The 40-seat restaurant had been in town since at least 1987, said Ross Moldoff, the town’s planning director.


    The apartments — 10 of which were occupied — and Venue Vapors, a local vape shop, were also destroyed in the fire, Moldoff said.

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    “The structure collapsed, and they’re still working on it,” Young said just before 8 a.m.

    No civilians were injured in the blaze, but two firefighters were hospitalized for muscular-skeleton injuries, Salem Fire Chief Paul J. Parisi said in a statement.

    In zero visibility and high heat, Lieutenant Chris Hamilton and firefighter P.J. Comeau got caught under structural pieces from the second floor of the building, Parisi said.

    Hamilton was briefly trapped by a beam on his leg, while Comeau’s helmet was ripped off, breaking his chin strap and ratchet device.


    “He was pinned, said Battalion Chief Jonathan Brackett. “The beam was on his leg and he was in a very awkward position.”

    Hamilton issued tje mayday call while Comeau worked to free Hamilton’s leg. Soon, Hamilton was able to wiggle free, and he exited the building with Comeau.

    Both firefighters were treated and released from Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, but will be recovering at home for a few days before being reevaluated by a physician, Brackett said.

    “They’re shaken up,” Brackett said Wednesday evening. “I actually just talked to them about a an hour and a half ago, and they’re very sore.”

    Seventeen apartment residents were displaced from their homes, Parisi said.


    Liberty Utilities and Unitil also assisted with utility issues caused by the fire, Parisi said. Due to the proximity of high voltage power lines, some power in town was temporarily cut.

    The wood-frame structure was built in 1920, and totaled 9,531 square feet, according to town property assessing records.

    A portion of Main Street between Pleasant Street and Route 28 were temporarily closed until firefighters cleared the scene, officials said.

    No further information about the cause of the blaze was immediately available.

    Elise Takahama can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @elisetakahama. Alyssa Meyers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ameyers_.