Lincoln, RI ~ Crews from Stations 4, 5, 3, 7 and Rescue 4 responded to 107 Boulevard Ave in the Lonsdale Section of the town around 0630hrs on January 22, 2013 for a reported dwelling fire on a bitterly cold and windy morning. Engine and Rescue 4’s quarters are located 2 blocks away, where on scene moments after dispatch. Captain Pat Gorman reported that he had heavy smoke showing from a 1.5sty wood framed dwelling. The fire appeared to be in the basement of this 30x40 Cape Cod style home. The elderly male
homeowner reported to Capt. Gorman that his wife was possibly still inside the house. The 4’s quickly turned into search mode while next due companies were still responding to the scene. Firefighters masked up and entered the heavy smoke charged structure to search for the man’s missing wife.
Ladder 51 arrived soon after and placed their rig in front of the dwelling for roof ventilation work. Engines 32 secured water supply to Engine 4 from a hydrant on Front Street. Engines 31 and 76 members hurried into the scene for manpower to search and stretch attack lines.
Searches continued, as heavy fire was raging in the cellar. Water was played into the basement through the foundation windows to try to keep the fire in check as the first floor was explored. Chief 4, Tim Griffin arrived on scene and took over command operations. Rescue 2 and Squad 21 were special called to the scene for EMS sector and F.A.S.T. operations. Strong winds were blowing through the open windows creating a bellows condition inside the structure.
Heavy fire was now showing on the first floor and out the windows on the Alpha/Delta corner.
The floor in the kitchen area was showing signs of instability. Interior crews attacking the fire in the basement reported that the fire appeared to be now gas feed. The Incident Commander made the decision to get all members out of the dwelling for accountability and safety. Searches had to be put on hold due to the rapidly extending fire conditions. Exterior hand lines were trained into the windows on the first floor and cellar at this time.
Once the fire appeared to be somewhat controlled, a search team was allowed back inside the compromised structure to continue efforts to find the missing victim. They entered through a Delta side window on the first floor in attempts to locate her. The lifeless body of the 91 year old was removed to the EMS sector where she was pronounced.
Engine 1 was special called to replace Squad 21 (FAST) as they were placed to work. Squad 21 was able to make the roof from the rear porch and then up to the ridgeline to begin vertical ventilation. The roof team was surrounded by chugging black smoke as they attempted to pop the roof open. The smoke soon turned to fire as the second floor began to light up. The roof was beginning to sag along the Alpha side as the rafters were being eaten away by the fire’s progression.
A second aerial truck was requested due to the now defensive operations. North Cumberland Truck 5 was sent and told to position in the parking lot on the Charlie/Delta corner. Once in position, their master stream along with Ladder 51’s was put into action on the blaze. Heavy smoke was being blown by the strong winds throughout the neighborhood and at times obscuring visibility on the scene.
The fire was placed under control in about 2.5hrs after arrival. Extensive overhauling continued for hours to expose the hidden pockets of fire. The Rhode Island Fire Marshal’s Office sent several investigators to the scene to try to determine the origin and cause. One member was transported to a local ER for an unknown medical issue.
The elderly couple met when they were 18yrs old and then married after he returned from the service in 1945. They were married for nearly 7 decades.