On Saturday May 10, 2003 the Johnston Rhode Island Fire Department was called to a large commercial building located at 2227 Plainfield Pike in the western end of town.
Responding units could see they had a long day ahead of them as a large plume of smoke could be seen 3 miles away. The responding Deputy Chief ordered the first in unit to lay its own feeder line in and start with a defensive attack. Engine 3 arrived and found a 100x200 wood and masonry construction with truss roofs that was heavy involved.
Owners notified the officer that acetylene and other tanks were in the building and two 100lb propane tanks were located on side 4. Engine 3 started with large streams and put protection lines on the exterior tanks. Low water pressure and high winds made the firefighting tough and companies had to back out as the tanks in the building began to explode.
The fire is under investigation and the Department of Emergency Management was called to the scene to assist in the tank cleanup.