West Warwick, RI – Firefighters were alerted to a possible structure fire around 10:30 a.m. at 1556 Main St. on Jan. 19, 2010.
Four engines, a ladder and EMS a well as duty chiefs were dispatched on the first alarm.Crews observed heavy smoke column filling the sky. Heavy fire was reported to be venting from side one of the three-story building.
Command requested a quick second-alarm be struck due to the heavy fire and life hazard. That resulted in response from a task force from the city of Warwick with two engines, a tower ladder, and a chief. Mutual aid companies along with off-duty recalls filled the empty firehouses. Firefighters stretched in hand lines into the first floor occupancy that was filled with heavy smoke and fire conditions as other companies conducted primary searches on the upper floors.
The searches proved negative. However, a few occupants suffered from smoke inhalation. A Warwick rescue transported two occupants to nearby Kent Hospital for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters were pulled from the structure due to the rapidly deteriorating conditions. West Warwick Tower Ladder 1 set up in a driveway on side 2 and crews vented the hip roof on side 3.
Heavy smoke issued from this vent hole after the sheathing was popped open.
The electrical service was terminated at the pole outside the structure but the gas couldn’t be easily turned off. The utility workers reported that the shut was possibly paved over with asphalt. A backhoe had to be dispatched to the scene to perform this task.
Several hand lines played through the open windows to attempt to knock the fire. The fire eventually made its way to the attic space and through the vent hole. Warwick Tower Ladder 1 set up on Main Street on the side 1-4 corner. The two tower ladders hydraulically opened up the roof line as the firefighters in the buckets used straight stream appliances.
The bulk of the fire was knocked around noon. Command allowed firefighters to return into the severely damaged structure to perform the overhaul.
The RI Fire Marshal’s Office was on scene early into the fire to help with cause and origin. The American Red Cross was also on scene to help with the displaced occupants. Several pets were reported missing or killed during the fire.