WOONSOCKET, RI – Fire Alarm dispatched a first alarm assignment just before noon on Feb. 4, to 49 Hillsdale St. for a dwelling fire.
Hillsdale Street is dead end with single-family dwellings located in the city’s east side. The entire region was also covered with 30” of snow hampering fire suppression efforts.
Engines 3 and 1, Tower 2 and Rescue 1 were sent on the first alarm.
Captain Steven Bilodeau found heavy fire conditions in the breezeway and garage of a one-and-a-half story occupied Cape Cod style dwelling.
A working fire was transmitted alerting all companies that they would be going to work.
Tower 2's crew set up in front of the dwelling in case they where needed for aerial operations.
Personnel on Engine 3 discovered a mechanical problem, and parked it off to the side.
Firefighters pulled up the dead end just behind Tower 2, grabbed the hydrant in front of the involved dwelling, and hand jacked a few lengths of LDH supply line to establish water supply.
Firefighters from Engine 1 and 3 stretched in lines to start the initial attack on the breezeway and garage. T
ower 2’s crew used their K-12 saw to open the aluminum garage door with a triangle cut. After getting the bulk of the breezeway knocked, firefighters then worked on the garage and interior of the living area.
Primary searches were conducted in the dwelling under heavy smoke and heat as reports of a possible unaccounted female resident were given to command. She was not in the house.
The OIC requested Blackstone, MA Ladder 1, Cumberland Engine 41, to the scene to act as the F.A.S.T. team as Woonsocket’s Ladder 1 was just closed four days prior by the city due to budget crisis. Rescue 1’s crew stretched in back up lines and then had to tend to one of their own who was overcome by heat exhaustion.
Crews on the second floor reported that they were encountering extreme heat and rolling flames as the advanced from the stairway.
There was also a large fire load of personal belongings on the second floor. The knee walls on side A blew blames out of the gable end of side D and traveled up into the attic space and through the roof.
Interior operations commenced by aggressively opening walls and ceilings exposing the fire traveling the void spaces. The involved areas were opened up and hose lines quickly stopped the spread of the running fire.
Extensive overhauling continued for hours after the OIC gave the under control transmission to the fire alarm office.
The Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office assisted the Woonsocket Fire Marshal with origin and cause.
One firefighter was transported for heat exhaustion. There were a few minor slips and falls due to ice and snow covering the fireground.
Mutual aid from Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, and Bellingham, MA covered the empty firehouses in the city.