Woonsocket, RI ~ A fast moving fire destroyed a 3.5sty wdfm dwelling at 24 Hope Street on April 28, 2012. A mother was on the second floor trapped by the heavy smoke. She then opened the window and dropped her infant to awaiting neighbors below. Seconds later she also leapt from the same window. A upstairs tenant was also credited with saving lives as he kicked in doors notifying occupants as he fled the building.
Engine 3 arrived to find heavy smoke and fire showing from the Alpha/Bravo side windows on the first floor. A working fire was requested and minutes later a second alarm. Engine 3’s crew began to stretch a 1¾” attack line to the fire apartment. EMS was requested with a push to treat the victim who jumped. Ladder 2 positioned their 100’ tower ladder in a Bravo side driveway to vent the roof.
Engine 1 approached the scene from the Delta side. A LDH was stretched to feed Engine 3’s pump. Engine 2 and Squad 4’s crew helped getting several back-up lines into action. Ladder 1 backed into Hope Street from East Street on the Bravo side to ready their waterway if needed. Rescues 1 and 2 transported the occupants to the hospital for evaluation of possible injuries from jumping.
Primary searches proved that all of the occupants were safely evacuated however there were still reports of missing pets. Ladder 2’s bucket was raised up to vent the roof on the Bravo side. Heavy smoke and heat was found as the roof was pushed in. A third alarm was sounded bringing mutual aid from Lincoln, Bellingham, Blackstone. Blackstone, MA Ladder 1 responded in to the scene from the Delta side for ladder pipe work if conditions worsened. Lincoln Squad 21 set up as FAST when they arrived. Bellingham’s crew stood by as manpower for deployment into the fire building.
Heavy fire had now made its way into the 2nd floor through the balloon framed walls. The Alpha/Bravo corner 2nd floor room flashed over and fire began overlapping upwards up the 3rd floor and attic. Ladder 2’s crew had to rapidly descend due to the extending fire. The heavy heat melted the joystick control panel’s display sticker.
Deputy Chief Perrault had all firefighters evacuate the structure to the heavy fire conditions that were now showing from all floors. The fire was now breaking through the roofline and heavy dark smoke was now blanketing the neighborhood. Several hand lines, deck guns, and Tower 2’s water way were now flowing water into the blaze.
The OIC allowed companies to attempt to re-enter the structure once the bulk of the heavy fire was knocked. Chainsaws were used to open the floors to allow for water drainage. Hand lines were stretched up into the 3rd floor to work all of the trapped fire that was still rolling the attic space. A dog was found alive in a bedroom closet and safely was returned to it’s owner outside.
The fire was under control around 1430hrs with extensive overhauling to continue for hours. The building was home to 5 apartments and 15 occupants. The fire marshal reported that there were no working smoke detectors in the structure. The Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office was on scene to help determine the cause. The report of a space heater to close to belongings was a possible cause of this intense fire. Firefighters remained on scene well into the night wetting down hot spots.