As residents of the Pocasset Manor, a retirement and assisted living facility, were heading down for dinner on Sunday, November 10th, the fire alarm began sounding throughout the building.
False alarms are a frequent occurrence at this facility and many residents, thinking that it was another false call, began returning to their apartments instead of evacuating the building.
At the same time, the box began tapping in at Johnston Fire Headquarters and units were being dispatched.
Johnston firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and fire showing from the rear of the 2 and 3 story, class 3 building with more than 100 residents of the facility needing assistance.
The I/C immediately requested two more alarms, bringing in mutual aid from Providence, Cranston, North Providence, Smithfield and Scituate.
Firefighters began a systematic evacuation of all of the residents, first out of the building into the parking lot and later to a temporary shelter set up at the Johnston High School.
Due to an initial lack of manpower and concentration on the rescue effort, the fire gained a tremendous amount of headway and spread into several apartments and cockloft.
Just as the final residents were being evacuated, the fire broke through the roof and all firefighters were withdrawn and a defensive operation begun.
Johnston operated their ladder pipe in the front of the building while Providence Tower Ladder Two operated in the rear.
After the fire was knocked down, the firefighters went back in to extinguish all remaining hot spots and perform salvage and overhaul duties.
One Johnston Fire Captain sustained severe injuries to both legs and was transported to RI Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. He was reported to be in stable condition this morning.
No residents were injured in the fire.
The fire was believed to have begun by a discarded cigarette on an exterior patio.