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Fire rips tenement; residents unharmed

March 5, 2011

CENTRAL FALLS – Four people escaped harm after a fire broke out at a two-story tenement house at 41 Hedley Ave. early Friday morning, but the house sustained extensive damage, stated Central Falls Deputy Fire Chief John Garvey.
Two CFFD firefighters did suffer minor injuries, one a tweaked knee and the other lacerations to his face, but they didn't require hospitalization.
Firefighters responded to the conflagration when the call came in at 1:41 a.m., Friday. Because the conflagration went to three alarms, representatives from other departments soon followed suit. They included those from Pawtucket, Cumberland, Valley Falls, Saylesville and Lonsdale.
In the interim, Providence and North Providence reps provided mutual aid – that is, covered the C.F. station in case another fire occurred.
“It was definitely a fast-moving fire,” Garvey stated Friday afternoon. “From the time our guys got there to maybe two minutes later, the fire had moved from the back of the house up to the attic. Also, our guys had been on another call, one for a possible boiler blaze, so we first arrived with only one engine. By then, the fire was going pretty good.”
Garvey indicated he couldn't say if the fire was suspicious in nature, as the State Fire Marshal's Office and Central Falls detectives are still investigating. He mentioned it appeared to have started on the back porch outside the home, and the center portion of the roof had caved in.
Upon arrival, firefighters observed four people standing outside the house. Apparently, a family of three lived on the second floor, with their mother/grandmother residing on the first level.
“That was a pretty intense fire, so for the second-floor (adult) female tenant to come down that stairwell (to escape), that's unbelievable,” Garvey said, noting she had done so with two children under the age of 10. “ “That was a very courageous move on her part.”


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